2014-05-21 / Front Page

The price of new power project

By Linsey Gray Staff writer


Greentown Reynolds Tower Steel lattice towers will reach heights of 135 feet and carryp high voltage transmission lines. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) Greentown Reynolds Tower Steel lattice towers will reach heights of 135 feet and carryp high voltage transmission lines. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) One of the proposed paths of the upcoming Greentown Reynolds electric system improvement project goes right through the heart of Carroll County. All three proposals begin in Greentown, east of Kokomo, and end in Reynolds, northwest of Monticello.

The project is a requirement of Midcontent Independent System Operator (MISO), an organization that oversees power grids in compliance with federal regulations. According to the Greentown Reynolds website, goals of the project are to improve access to regional sources of power, to improve reliability, and to lower costs. Routes

The first route would follow a northern path above Grissom AFB, Logansport, and Monticello, turning south just past the lakes.


Greentown Reynolds Diagram Each tower will require an easement 200 feet in width for maintenance. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) Greentown Reynolds Diagram Each tower will require an easement 200 feet in width for maintenance. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) The second route would cut a diagonal path north of Kokomo and south of Logansport, through the northeastern corner of Carroll County above Camden and Delphi.

The third route is the southernmost path, and roughly parallels State Road 18, veering slightly north of Flora near Col-Alliance and south of Delphi. Concerns

Local concerns are property use, health risks, and property values. These must be balanced with the desire for more reliable electric power.

Each of the towers will require a right-of-way easement 200 feet in width. Property will not be purchased from landowners; instead easements will be purchased. An easement provides access to the towers for maintenance, but the original owner will still own land.


Greentown Reynolds Map Two of the main proposed routes enter Carroll County. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) Greentown Reynolds Map Two of the main proposed routes enter Carroll County. (Photo from greentownreynolds.com) Steel lattice towers will be 135’ tall, (comparable to the 148’ water tower at the Flora park) and carry 765 kilovolts of electricity. They are high voltage towers that produce Electric Magnetic Fields (EMF).

A 2011 Fordham Environmental Law Review article titled “Causes of action for EMF harm” discusses the real and perceived threat of EMFs. There is little scientific evidence that EMFs from electric transmission lines do major damage to humans, according to the article. Even so, property owners have sued for damages when their property values were affected negatively.

Greentownreynolds.com states that the anticipated magnetic field directly under the power lines is 8 mG (milligauss), while a standard microwave oven emits 10-200 mG, a fluorescent light emits 2-40 mG, and an electric blanket emits 100- 1000 mG. Any electric device, including wiring, gives off a magnetic field, and magnetic fields are present in nature.

Still, the National Association of Realtors publication “Field Guide to Effects of Power Lines of Property Values” states: “the public’s knowledge, perception, and interpretation of data has a profound effect on valuation of property in proximity to power lines.”

Laura Walls, executive director of the Carroll County Economic Development Corporation, has formally submitted issues with segment 33 of the proposed route. The route would run through the Hoosier Heartland Industrial Park, diagonally situated across U.S. 421 from Indiana Packers.

The park has recently been upgraded with utilities and is shovel ready.

Walls explained, “With its proximity to the Hoosier Heartland Highway and infrastructure, it is the most marketable greenfield site in Carroll County. It would be crippling for the transmission lines to go through the park.”

She went on to say that even though the project needs to happen, it would not be in Carroll County or NIPSCO’s best interest to hinder economic development, adding “The best route for Carroll County is the route that is away from towns and has the least impact on residential, commercial, and industrial properties.” How routes are chosen

Information on the Greentown Reynolds website gives the following considerations for route selection: least disruption to farms, homes, and business; length, access, terrain, and visual impact; proximity to homes, businesses, roads, public facilities, irrigation, development, airports, airstrips, federal and state lands, and conservation areas; and environmental impact on woodlands, crops, pastures, grasslands, wetlands, streams, and cultural resources. Finally, they are relying on public input.

Routes will not be finalized until June, but property owners have until May 30 to submit an online survey, or find more information about the project at greentownreynolds. com. Route maps are available for public viewing at local libraries. Questions can be directed to (888) 449-2101 or greentownreynolds@nisource.com.

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