Pharos-Tribune

Local News

January 23, 2014

Power line project solicits public input

Residents share agricultural, environmental, other concerns.

Those planning for about 70 miles of new transmission lines in the area and those who will be affected by them have started to assist each other through the exchange of information.

The project is a joint effort between the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, or NIPSCO, and Pioneer Transmission — a joint venture of Duke Energy and American Electric Power. It will ultimately replace old electric transmission lines with a more modernized system and connect Duke Energy’s Greentown substation east of Kokomo to NIPSCO’s substation in Reynolds.

The exact route of the new line is yet to be determined, but the project team is looking at an area that includes Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Howard, Miami and White counties.

Open houses took place in Kokomo Tuesday and at Ivy Tech Community College in Logansport Wednesday, where members of the project team were available to answer questions and address concerns from the public.

Kathleen Szot, external communications manager for NIPSCO, said open houses allow the project team to get information that isn’t always available through public records.

Attendees often provide the locations of irrigation systems, airstrips and burial plots, Szot said. Environmental conservation concerns like the locations of bald eagles’ nests, streams, and wetlands are also shared. Attendees were invited to point out these sites on a computer mapping system, allowing members of the project team to take note of areas to avoid as a route is developed in the future.

“We’re going to be using all of that information we gather here,” Szot said at the open house Wednesday, adding that the goal is for the line to have “the least amount of impact as possible.”

The $328 million project will require 135-foot-tall steel structures with an average of 1,250 feet between them. A 200-foot right of way will be required, which the project team plans to acquire through the purchase of easements — the right to use land for building and maintaining the transmission line. An agent will be assigned to each of the individual landowners who will be affected, providing a point of contact for them.

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