Hundreds packed Landrum Middle School’s gym, Tuesday, to learn more about Duke Energy’s Western Carolina’s Modernization Project.
The open house style event didn’t impress many who showed up wanting clear answers about Duke’s plans.
“There’s nothing we can do except walk around like a bunch of zombies from station to station, voice our concerns and they just stand there like a bobble head doll,” explained Terry Shager.
Their proposed plans would place 40 miles new transmission lines through scenic parts of the Spartanburg and Greenville counties, connecting a new 320 million dollar substation in Campobello to a plant in Asheville.
Duke says it’s a necessary move to keep up with the growing energy demands of the Western Carolinas and a way to end Asheville’s coal era.
“This is the area that needs the electricity. This is the area that is going to need the reliability enhancements that we are going to need for this project,” said spokesman, Ryan Mosier.
It’s the way that the project is being done that alarms many. The project will decide between multiple route options, all of which cut through the foothills and some through scenic and historic parts of the Upstate.
“This project that Duke has proposed will ruin our community,” said Becky Barnes, President of the Jackson Creek HOA.
Lawyer, Patrick Knie has filed a lawsuit.
“We feel like its David and Goliath, of course,” said Knie
In the suit filed Tuesday, he asked the court to prevent Duke and developers from working on the proposed land until environmental scientists and other experts can weigh in on the safety and impact of such a large project. They are also requesting documents from duke about the site selection to provided better understanding, something Knie said these meetings are not doing.
“I don’t think that this is accomplishing anything. If Duke will be forthcoming with this as we are asking in the lawsuit and provide us with additional information, then we might intelligently make a decision,” said Knie.
Duke energy has said that they will continue to collect comments through August 14 to incorporate into their planning process. It will have its final public input meeting Thursday, July 23 from 4 until 7 in Flat Rock at the Henderson County Campus of “Blue Ridge Community College.”
Links to the project information can be found below: