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David Geneson (left) and Jerry Landrum express their opposition to the proposed construction of high-voltage power lines that would cut through Carroll and neighboring counties.

EUREKA SPRINGS — Residents showed up in force Monday, July 15, gathering at Eureka Springs’ Inn of the Ozarks for public hearings concerning the proposed construction of new power transmission lines.

Southwestern Electric Power Company, the entity seeking to build the lines, has advanced several proposed routes to accommodate the towers and related hardware. A common element shared by the plans is the potential environmental impact it would exert on both Carroll and Benton counties.

Opponents say that SWEPCO has sought to push the measure past regulators despite the significant negative impact they believe it will have on their communities.

“What SWEPCO has done is awakened a large group of peaceful radicals,” said Faith Shah. “They studied the issue by flying over and by studying satellite images of the area.”

Shah, who volunteers with SaveTheOzarks.org, says all Arkansans should be concerned about the issue.

“The message is this,” Shah said. “Today it’s Carroll and some other counties. Tomorrow it could be yours.”

According to Arkansas Public Service Commission representatives, more than 146 individuals had reserved time to weigh in on the issue with APSC Administrative Law Judge Connie Griffin. The hearing are expected to continue through Tuesday, July 16.

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