By Jade Ortego
Killeen Daily Herald
Residents of affected areas of a proposed power line project met Tuesday to discuss the progress of an alternative route that would skirt the southern edge of Fort Hood.
After Oncor Electricity announced a potential route for electrical pylons that would cut through wood and prairie land near the Lampasas River, landowners in the area protested, starting at least two groups opposed to the route. The pylons are at least 12 stories high and must be built on clear-cut and bulldozed easements.
Oncor must choose a preferred route and a list of alternate routes by late September or early October to submit to the Public Utility Commission of Texas, which will then choose for the company.
A group led by County Commissioner John Fisher determined an alternate route that runs east to west on the southern edge of Fort Hood and connects to an existing easement in Parrie Haynes Ranch. This route is preferable to many because the land there is already developed and doesn't house endangered species, like some areas in Maxdale and Ding Dong.
Fisher said he is optimistic that Oncor is committed to trying to get the route approved.
"The fact that they have called for the updated maps, and they wanted to meet with officials (Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock and Rep. Ralph Sheffield), I'd like to think that that route is under consideration to them," he said.
Catharine Cuellar, Oncor spokeswoman, said that the route is under consideration but must comply with Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) to be adopted.
"If it is possible with the PURA code we're happy to include it in the proposal that we make, but it all depends on if the information that we gather determines that possibility," Cuellar said. "If it's possible we'll propose it."
Fisher said that the residents of Maxdale and Ding Dong are eager to help Oncor choose a different route.
"I think that the group as a whole has done a good job in contacting Oncor one-on-one, making Oncor understand that they're seriously interested in trying to help find a solution for the location of a route that would be most suitable for everybody," Fisher said.
Contact Jade Ortego at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7553.