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Duke may adjust corridor, Meadows says

U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows speaks at a Town Hall meeting on Friday, Aug. 29, at BRCC. U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows speaks at a Town Hall meeting on Friday, Aug. 29, at BRCC.

Forecasting “some pretty good news” on the proposed Duke Energy transmission line through Henderson County, U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows told a Town Hall gathering Friday night that Duke officials may adjust the corridor based on widespread opposition to the options it has identified.

“I’ve been on the phone with a couple of Duke Power executives and my encouragement to them was to look at bringing down the number of plans into one or two that they’re really considering,” he said. “The other is using existing right of way. There may be places where that may not be possible but it is a lot more possible based on what I’ve seen than the current proposal.”
The audience applauded when Meadows mentioned following existing right of way — an option that many opponents say Duke ignored when it chose around 40 segments as possible routes.
Meadows made the remarks at the Bo Thomas auditorium at BRCC, where 160 people gathered to ask questions about the Iran nuclear agreement, veterans' benefits, Planned Parenthood, the power line project and other topics. The second-term 11th District representative urged opponents of the transmission line to come to the North Carolina Utilities Commission with facts as their ammunition. Meadows said the decision won’t reach the federal level unless utility regulators in North Carolina and South Carolina are at an impasse.
“As many of you as showed up tonight need to show up for the Utilities Commission next week,” he said. “It’s only if they can’t come up with an approval or disapproval that FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) gets involved.”
Meadows said he had experience as a landowner whose property was in the right of way of a power line.
“What they will listen to is less emotion and more facts, in terms of property values, not only as it’s currently used but the highest and best use,” he said. “I believe that you’ll start to see within the next two weeks a more favorable report that comes out from Duke Power. That is not anything that Mark has done. It’s really what you’ve done.
“Duke has been typically a very good corporate citizen. I will work with you to make sure we deal with that particular issue in the most esthetically way that it does work,” he added. “I believe that we’ll have some pretty good news.”