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Denton Community Upset By Power Line Proposal

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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(credit: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

(credit: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

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DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas officials are reviewing a multi-billion dollar power project that could send a transmission line running right across a populated part of Denton County. The week-long hearing got underway on Monday in Austin and the Public Utility Commission will ultimately decide where that line will go, but Oncor’s preferred route has many people in one Denton community upset.

In the Deerwood neighborhood of Denton, residents have lived with a view of power lines for years. “Right now, we walk out,” said resident Jeff Krueger, “when the trees are in bloom, they’re mostly clouded.” But a proposed route for an Oncor transmission line – much larger than the current electric lines – is generating concern in the established community.

The transmission line would run from Krum to Anna, carrying wind-generated power to North Texas. That line would be 50 feet taller. “We’ve worked hard to build and buy and do the American Dream,” Krueger said, “and then, all of a sudden, they’re going to come in and put in these huge towers.”

The path near Deerwood is one of 96 proposals that the PUC will consider this week. Click here to see a map of the routes and drawings of the structures.

“The benefit of these lines,” explained Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar, “is clean, renewable wind energy generated right here in Texas for all Texans.”

Residents are worried that, if these large structures are built roughly 500 feet from their homes, they will be powerless when it comes time to sell the homes. “We think it’s pretty unsightly to have these tall towers. We think it’s going to lower our property value,” Krueger said.

And homes are not the only things that could be impacted. One of the proposed routes runs right by a local school and athletic complex.

“I just think they need to move where there’s not the population,” Krueger said. “There’s not the economic impact. And we still don’t know about the health impact.”

“There is no conclusive evidence that links health concerns to electromagnetic fields,” Cuellar told CBS 11 News. “In fact, the electromagnetic fields in your house — from your computer, your cell phone, television and your appliances — may be higher than from electrical wires outside your home.”

Oncor expects a decision from the PUC sometime in the spring of 2011. The line should is expected to be in service by 2013.

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