- Associated Press - Monday, November 24, 2014

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A $45 million high-voltage power line project in Kalamazoo County is expected to move forward despite opposition from local government officials and landowners.

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed the Michigan Public Service Commission’s July 2013 decision to grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity to Michigan Electric Transmission Co., a subsidiary of Novi-based ITC Holdings Corp., the Kalamazoo Gazette reported (https://bit.ly/1FiWN24 ).

The ruling lifts a halt on construction that was imposed after Kalamazoo County’s Oshtemo Township and landowners filed an appeal in August 2013. ITC spokesman Joe Kirik said a review is planned to determine when construction on the Weeds Lake reliability project might start.

“ITC remains committed to improving the reliability and integrity of the transmission grid in the Kalamazoo area in a responsible and cost-effective manner,” Kirik said in a statement.

The court said that the project is clearly needed to maintain reliability and that the landowners didn’t have their private property taken without due process.

Oshtemo Township attorney James Porter said he was disappointed with the decision and “in the state of law in this state because it gives the MPSC, in my opinion, too much authority, especially when they can come and confiscate people’s property.”

The MPSC also stated the certificate preempted the township’s utility ordinance, which the township amended in 2011 to require detailed information about proposed projects and place underground any utility lines within 250 feet of public road right of way.

The Weeds Lake project consists of about 7 miles of transmission lines through Oshtemo Township and an electrical transmission substation nearby.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, https://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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