Columbus, Neb. – A series of eight public hearings on Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project 345,000-Volt Transmission Line are scheduled to be held during the first two weeks of November. The hearings will be held in eight counties where the line route has been selected, with each meeting having a one-hour open house prior to the formal hearing.
NPPD plans to construct approximately 220 miles of transmission line from the District’s Gerald Gentleman Station, south of Sutherland, to a new substation to be constructed in Holt County. Besides the new substation in Holt County, a new substation will also be built at a location near Thedford. NPPD has not determined a final line route for the project.
This new transmission line will help enhance operation of NPPD’s electric transmission system, relieve congestion from existing lines within the transmission system, and provide additional opportunities for development of renewable energy projects.
The public hearings will be held at various locations November 4, 6, 10, and 12. The following schedule has been shared with landowners along the final route:
Tuesday, November 4 – Logan County Fairgrounds, 71 Highway 83, Stapleton; open house from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
Tuesday, November 4 – Holiday Inn Express, 300 Frontage Road, North Platte; open house from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, November 6 – Thomas County Fairgrounds, 83861 Highway 83, Thedford; open house from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
Thursday, November 6 – Brewster Community Center, 250 Garfield Ave., Brewster; open house from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
Monday, November 10 American legion, 657 G Street, Burwell; open house from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
Monday, November 10 – Loup County Community Center, 406 4th Street, Taylor; open house from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
Wednesday, November 12 – Wheeler Central High School (new gymnasium), 214 5th Street, Bartlett; open house from noon to 1 p.m.; public hearing from 1 to 3 p.m.
Wednesday, November 12 – Chambers Community Center, 107 E. Main Street, Chambers; open house from 6 to 7 p.m.; public hearing from 7 to 9 p.m.
The public hearing, required under Nebraska statutes, are conducted to present the proposed transmission project. A hearing officer will facilitate the hearing and a court reporter will be used to document all presentations by Nebraska Public Power District and landowner comments and questions.
The first part of the public hearing consists of presentations on the project by Nebraska Public Power District and its engineering consulting firm, Power Engineers. The topics will include the need for the project, engineering aspects, line route selection, and the easement acquisition process. Once that portion of the hearing is completed, the public will have an opportunity to speak.
Any individual can supply testimony or ask questions about the line project in two ways. One way is for the individual to speak from the podium, state their name and county where the property is located, and either present information that they feel is needed about the project, or ask questions about the project. Comment cards will also be available for landowners who prefer not to speak at the podium, but desire to make a statement or ask a question. The comment or question will be read aloud during the hearing.
Prior to each formal public hearing, NPPD will host a one hour open house similar to the previous three rounds that have been held since January of 2013. Again, this will be an opportunity for the public to provide additional information regarding their property or ask specific questions about the project. NPPD representatives will also be available following the public hearing to meet with landowners.
Once the public hearings have ended, a 30-day comment period begins and will conclude December 12, 2014. Shortly after that, NPPD will announce the final line route and begin meeting with landowners for right-of-entry to conduct activities on the property. The initial activities include conducting surveys of proposed easement areas and proceeding with appraisal work. After engineering is completed, right-of-way agents will meet with landowners to fully explain the project as it relates to their specific property and explain terms and conditions of the easement needed for the line. NPPD strives for fair and respectful treatment of affected landowners during the entire process.
(Editor’s Note: Additional information on the R-Project including newsletters and a map of the proposed and alternative routes can be found at www.nppd.com/rproject.)