Save Our sandhills
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Approved 6/5/08


WHEREAS Progress Energy is a private energy company that serves more than 3.1 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida; and

the environmental impacts of its actions regarding the routing and maintenance of its transmission lines are far reaching; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy’s planned Rockingham/West End route (see attached Map A) for a new 230-kilovolt electricity transmission line despoiled ecologically sensitive lands in September, 2007, some of which were protected in a conservation easement by the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP), which is a mitigation system funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and carried out in coordination with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR); and

WHEREAS  the Rockingham/West End route will cut through the North Carolina Sandhills Game Land, which is public environmentally protected land for flora and fauna; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy has pursued this course of action without the benefit of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) prepared under the auspices of the state agencies which will decide whether to permit such a project; and

WHEREAS  Progress Energy’s proposal for a new Richmond County/Fort Bragg 60- to 65-mile transmission line (see attached Map B) currently shows a plethora of potential routes all going through private lands,  and will require the taking of private property; and

Progress Energy is a private entity and holds the right of eminent domain through the permission of the legislature, and should only exercise such right of eminent domain under strict control of the people’s representatives in state government; and

WHEREAS  Progress Energy  currently plans to cut 50,000 trees in North Carolina and South Carolina because of a federal mandate that will impose stiff  fines for any power outage caused by trees and vegetation along transmission lines; and

WHEREAS the Congressional rule passed in 2005 and put into effect on  18 June  2007 as a result of the 2003 blackout does not require trees to be cut down,  but only requires a plan for maintaining vegetation along transmission line corridors; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy’s cleared corridors can stretch from 70 to 150 feet wide; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy allows trees that grow no taller than 12 feet at maturity on easements and trims nearby trees to prevent electrical arcs under its regular maintenance program; and

WHEREAS  Progress Energy withholds information from property owners threatened with condemnation by Progress Energy’s projects, even though fairness, justice and reason require the sharing of such information; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy has withheld a myriad of information from the public, even as it wields the power of eminent domain given to it by the public through their elected representatives; and

WHEREAS Progress Energy has (1) withheld information as to arrangements that it has made with other entities regarding rights-of-way agreements, (2) withheld detailed information regarding possible chosen transmission routes, (3) withheld official information pertaining to tree-cutting plans, and (4) withheld information to landowners seeking lists of other potential condemnees;

that Save Our Sandhills in a special meeting on June 5, 2008, encourages North Carolina county, state, and federal officials to strongly urge the North Carolina Department of Natural  Resources (NCDENR), the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to require Progress Energy to immediately prepare a formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the planned Rockingham/West End route that cuts through the public North Carolina Sandhills Game Land; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Progress Energy, because of its power of eminent domain, must plan critical site selection carefully, must avoid all conservation easement properties, and must bear the burden of undertaking a formal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) whenever planning transmission line routes on new site construction, regardless of whether or not the project crosses public land or involves public funds; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Progress Energy should upgrade existing transmission lines, both regular and back-up, rather than create new and often redundant lines to avoid the condemnation of private lands with its inherent destruction of natural heritage treasures including flora and fauna, as well as historically significant properties and dwellings; and

that Progress Energy should share its rights-of-way wherever possible with other utilities, whether telephone, water, cable, or similar utilities; and

that Progress Energy, with the money saved from utilizing existing transmission routes, should diligently maintain the vegetation along its transmission routes by trimming and pruning rather than arbitrarily cutting down all trees, since the cost saved by not adding and maintaining additional routes would be astronomical; and

FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that Progress Energy should notify the public regarding land appropriation and line maintenance, should share maps of planned routes, should share its list of landowners who would be affected by their plans, and, in general, strive for better stewardship of the environment.


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