The Van Buren City Council will consider a request at its June 15 meeting to oppose the Plains and Eastern Clean Line project that would cut through Crawford County.
At a Tuesday night meeting, more than a dozen opposed to the project addressed the council, offering a variety of negatives about the project, including health concerns, trust issues and the impact on home values and tourism.
The group encouraged the council to pass a resolution opposing the project.
Alderman Alan Swaim said he only received some of the Clean Line information just prior to the meeting and would need time to consider it.
Mayor Bob Freeman suggested discussing the issue at the June meeting.
The council heard a presentation from Field Wasson, a representative of the Clean Line project that is slated to deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast.
Wasson said the $2 billion, 720-mile, high-voltage transmission line project would facilitate a $500 million investment in Arkansas with Bekaert Corp., which has operations in Van Buren, Malvern’s General Cable and Little Rock’s LM Wind Power.
The project would add more than 700 jobs to the state, millions of dollars in revenue, infrastructure payments and sales and use taxes on local materials, he said.
Wasson said a 500-megawatt substation has been added to the plan. It could be located in Polk County, he said.
Sue Moore, representing those in opposition to the project, said she is concerned about a private company partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy "to do whatever they want … without knowing the concerns" of local residents.
Dr. Elliott Hays said the project would "sabotage the health of the state."
Moore noted a number of local entities have passed a similar resolution against the project, including the cities of Alma, Cedarville and Dyer, as well as the Crawford County Quorum Court.
At the February meeting of the Alma City Council, aldermen approved a resolution requesting the Department of Energy deny an application by Clean Line Energy to partner with the federal government on the transmission line.
According to the resolution, Clean Line has not identified clear and substantial benefits to the State of Arkansas that exceed detrimental impacts caused by the project.
Quorum courts of Franklin, Johnson and Pope counties have passed similar resolutions. The Pope County resolution states the proposed power line would be an "enduring eyesore to Arkansas" that will affect the "natural beauty" and damage property values with "little positive effect."
Janelle Fullbright, deputy speaker of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, sponsored a resolution that was passed recently "opposing the establishment of an energy line route by the Plains and Eastern Clean Line in Sequoyah County, Okla., located within the Cherokee Nation jurisdictional area."