- Associated Press - Friday, November 18, 2016

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) - Some landowners voiced concerns that a proposed transmission line in central Nebraska would disrupt wildlife and cultural gems, such as wagon ruts from the Oregon and Mormon trails.

The proposed 345,000-volt transmission line would start near the Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland and extend to a new station near Thedford, according to the North Platte Telegraph (https://bit.ly/2gqugWc ).

The landowners met Thursday with officials from the Nebraska Public Power District. Some landowners said it would be less disruptive if the power line went underground or used a different route.

NPPD president Patrick Pope said the exact cost of running the line underground wasn’t available, but that it would be more expensive for customers compared to the current plan. He added that NPPD promised customers low cost, and switching to a more expensive plan could risk the company losing customers. NPPD vice president Thomas Kent said using an alternate route would cause the proposed line to run into other power lines, residences and the North Platte Regional Airport.

“Why wouldn’t you just do it the right way?” Attendee Charlie Fote asked, referring to building the power line underground. “I know what the answer is - and it’s money.”

Kent promised landowners that the project will use helicopters for construction rather than trucks, and the company will do everything in its power to minimize environmental damage.

Fote, after asking Pope and Kent what was wrong with promising minimized damage, said, “it’s not zero.”

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Information from: The North Platte Telegraph, https://www.nptelegraph.com

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