New electric transmission line causing concern in Michiana - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

New electric transmission line causing concern in Michiana

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NIPSCO is planning a new 100 mile electric transmission line.  They say it's to improve reliability.  But there are thousands of homeowners who could be affected.  And many are concerned.  This line will go from Reynolds Indiana to Topeka Indiana.  We spoke to some people South of Bremen who said they're worried it may have a huge impact on their lifestyle and their livelihood.

Brad Stackhouse is a second generation farmer.  Now a new electric transmission line could threaten the land he operates.  "They have the opportunity with those routes to intercept our farms seven times," said Stackhouse.

Stackhouse is concerned about it passing through his farms for multiple reasons.  First it could disrupt his irrigation systems and it could also take away some of his land.  "Today's society farmers are stressed to the limit to farm as many acres as they can to make a profit and keep business going," said Stackhouse.

NIPSCO Spokesperson Nick Meyer said they're now gathering information from farmers about where their irrigation systems are so they can try to avoid them.  As for the land concern he said, "chances are it's gonna be minimal in terms of how many towers you're gonna have on your property but you can farm all around it and you still utilize that land."

But those aren't the only concerns.  Stackhouse's neighbor said she's worried about her health.  "I moved out to this area to get away from power lines," said Chris Johnson, "I actually get headaches from it, migraines from it."

Neither she nor Stackhouse said they're against the line itself.  "We're big users of electricity we need it," said Stackhouse.  They just want to see it take the path of least resistance...like using existing power lines.  "I know they have to go someplace but why can't they go on the lines already there?" said Johnson.

So we asked NIPSCO that question.  Meyer said, "We are looking at existing right of ways and existing lines to see if we can parallel some of those lines, again to lessen the impact but unfortunately not in every case can we use those exact same routes."

Stackhouse just hopes whatever route is chosen doesn't hurt his farm too much.  "We want to keep our farm intact as long as we can," said Stackhouse.

Public open houses will be held starting next week.  That's your opportunity to share your concerns and tell NIPSCO about anything they need to watch out for when picking a route.  The schedule is as follows:

All open houses are from 3:30 – 7:00p.m. EST

  • Monday, July 15 – Shipshewana Town Center
    Banquet C

    760 S Van Buren St., Shipshewana, IN 46565
  • Tuesday, July 16 – DAL-Mar Banquet Center
    159 E Lincoln St. Nappanee, IN 46550
  • Wednesday, July 17 – Swan Lake Conference Center
    Ballroom 1
    5203 Plymouth Laporte Trail, Plymouth, IN 46563
  • Monday, July 22 – Winamac High School Gym
    715 School Dr., Winamac, IN 46996
  • Tuesday, July 23 – Brandywine/Best Western Conf. Center
    304 S 6th St., Monticello IN 47960

Nipsco hopes to pick a route at the end of summer or beginning of fall.  Construction wouldn't start until the end of 2014 and the line wouldn't be in service until 2018.  For more information visit http://reynoldstopeka.com/Default.htm

 

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