OK Corporation Commission Hears Support, Opposition To Wind Catcher Project

Monday, July 2nd 2018, 6:22 pm
By: Amy Avery

PSO announced last week it would not route transmission lines through Bixby, but what’s next for the utility’s Wind Catcher Project?

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has had several meetings regarding the project, but Monday’s meeting was the first time the agency was able to hear testimonies on how the project is really going to impact Oklahoma.

“This isn’t green energy.  This is dirty energy,” said landowner Neva Alsip.

Alsip’s family started their farm west of Yale in 1889.  She says she believes the proposed transmission line will destroy her land.

“It’s coming across 360 miles of Oklahoma farms and homes and devastating the whole path,” she said.

7/2/2018 Related Story: PSO's 'Wind Catcher' On State Corporation Commission's Agenda

She’s one of several landowners fighting the Wind Catcher Project.

Many believe it could depreciate land value and have serious impacts on their health.

“I think it will also depreciate the value of our life and life style,” said landowner Monica Johnson.

On Monday, the OCC heard testimony from attorneys representing different landowners and organizations across the state.

A PSO spokesman told News On 6 on Tuesday, the company will seek to recover the cost of the project when it goes into effect.

“It offers more than two million dollars in cost savings for PSO customers throughout the life of the project,” said PSO Communications Manager Stan Whiteford.

PSO said the Wind Catcher project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and they believe it will impact Oklahoma in a positive way.

Colin Lindemood, a PSO lineman, said that “amongst the economic turbulence, there’s always a guarantee – the wind will blow.”

“Do I want it on me? No, I don't. But do I see the value? Yes, I do,” said Creek County landowner Josh Enlow.

6/25/2018 Related Story: PSO Announces Its Wind Catcher Project Won't Go Through Bixby

While some landowners are starting to accept their fate, others would just like the opportunity to defend their land.

Alan Barbie from Harper County says, “I don’t think we are going to be able to stop it.  I think imminent domain is just going to nail us, but I would sure like to be treated fairly.”

The OCC listened to several different parties who are filing motions to intervene or continue with the project.  They also listened to many joint stipulations and settlement agreements with landowners and PSO.

The OCC also listened to cross-examination about the different stipulations in the project.  PSO clarified a lot and hopes the OCC will vote in their favor moving forward.

Testimony will continue at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Tuesday starting at 9:00 a.m.

The OCC said they hope to vote on the project Tuesday.