Group Battles Against SWEPCO Over Power Line Project

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A group called Save the Ozarks is trying to stop transmission lines from being built through several Northwest Arkansas counties.

“Bottom line is this is a complete raping of the purity of the Ozarks.  The economic and environmental impact will be devastating,” said Ilene Powell, Save the Ozarks.

Southwestern Electric Power Company has 6 possible routes stretching 48 miles from Berryville to Centerton.

One of the proposed routes will run right in front of Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs.

A petition has been started to save the Thorncrown Chapel.

Pastor Doug Reed says it would take away from what architect Fay Jones intended for his renowned work.

“He wanted his buildings to be like someone just dropped a seed here and it just kind of grew up here with everything else. So if you harm the environment, you harm his buildings,” said Reed.

Installing this line would create more voltage usage, meaning a more reliable service for the growing area, according to SWEPCO spokesman, Peter Main.

“Relieve overloads on the existing transmission system in Carroll County and to be part of the larger grid in that area to reinforce that grid,” said Main.

The transmission lines would create a 150 foot swath, which means trees will have to be cut down.

Some business owners in Eureka Springs, say they thrive off tourists, and this line would have an economic downside.

“We all depend on the tourists to come here to absorb the natural beauty of the Ozarks without all these surroundings with all that what do we really have to offer,” said Teresa DeVito.

The state Public Commission is asking for public input on this plan.  They do plan to hold a public hearing where people can voice their concerns.

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