by Max Brantley
The state Supreme Court's decision that SWEPCO hadn't proved the need for a new coal-burning power plant in Hempstead County has had a ripple effect.
I've gotten a copy of a note from Chuck Nestrud, lawyer for a hunting club that has been fighting the power plant because of environmental concerns. He reports that landowners fighting condemnation of land by SWEPCO have won a court victory because of the Supreme Court ruling.
SWEPCO took another hit today. SWEPCO has been filing condemnation actions for the transmission lines recently. I have been providing information to the attorneys representing Chesley Pruitt (one of the condemnees). They moved to dismiss the condemnation, based on the recent Supreme Court decision. SWEPCO’s engineers had told the landowners that they were proceeding because they wanted the lines in place quickly to provide an avenue to bring power in to the Turk plant so SWEPCO could use its own power to build the plant (rather than having to buy power from Entergy). The Court modified SWEPCO’s order of entry such that SWEPCO cannot take possession until the transmission line appeals (currently pending before the Court of Appeals) are resolved in favor of SWEPCO. Since the need for the transmission lines was justified based on the need established for the turk plant, it is inevitable that the Court of Appeals will reverse the certificates for the transmission lines.
When asked what SWEPCO would do if the rehearing motion is denied by the Supreme Court, SWEPCO’s condemnation attorneys just said “I don’t know, that’s the billion dollar question.”