Citing “transmission lines with their massive structures will create a visual scar across our county,” Brown County Commissioners signed a resolution Monday pleading that the lines be buried, or at least not be routed through communities or cities in the county and a minimum of 1,400 feet from any “existing habitable structure.”
Precinct 1 Commissioner Steve Adams presented the resolution to the court.
“We support renewable energy,” Adams said. “We’re not trying to stop these transmission lines through the county, we’re trying to stop them from coming through communities in the county, or right over the top of houses and buildings already in place.”
Adams said much of the wording of the resolution was borrowed from a resolution passed by the Kimble County commissioners court and is similar to one being considered by the Gillespie County court.
The resolution recognizes that “the State of Texas is pursuing an aggressive strategy to increase the electricity generation capacity from renewable energy technologies” and that “a plan was developed by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas” to construct transmission capacity to deliver generated power from five designated ‘Competitive Renewable Energy Zones’ to electric customers in the metropolitan areas.”
According to the resolution, the PUC has selected Oncor to construct and operate the segments of the transmission line to be located in Brown County. Oncor specified the use of lattice structures in its bid to the PUC and “such lattice structures have a huge footprint and will maximize the negative visual impact and economic consequences.”
Four possible results are suggested in the resolution, including:
• “Burying all transmission lines underground that will cross Brown County in developed, populated, historical, watershed and recreational areas … (and) minimizing the visual impacts to the maximum extent possible;”
• “Direct the utilization of single or mono pole structures instead of lattice structures;”
• “PUC and Oncor … adopt rules dictating that any and all 345 kV transmission lines constructed through Brown County now must maintain a minimum distance of at least 1,400 feet from the centerline of the proposed route or easement to any existing habitable structure … ;”
• “Transmission lines not be placed in or around any town sites in Brown County.
In other business items on Monday, the court approved a request by Michael Sweetman, representing the grass roots “Awakening of America” to hold a community prayer service on the north side courthouse lawn on Sept. 11.