Police Jury heard plans for new electric transmission line

A new high voltage electric transmission system is planned to go from Texas to Mississippi.  The route will take it through northern Red River Parish.  The Red River Parish Police Jury was given an update and a glimpse at a map of the route at the August meeting on Wednesday.

Emory Belton and Trey Wilkerson of Southern Spirit Transmission appeared before the jury to report that planning and acquisition of right of way is now going on.  Belton explained that the project had been on hold a number of years to answer objections to it by the state of Texas.  Those objections have been answered and the project is again underway.

Belton emphasized that this is a private project to transmit electricity and none of it will be going to utilities in this state.  Belton said, “It will have no impact on rates. We will build a converter station in the area of Mansfield, ship the electricity across the state, to another converter station to be built in Mississippi.”

Where will the parish benefit?  Belton said landowners will be compensated if the line crosses their land, there will be local workers hired to construct the towers and other facilities, and the project should increase the tax base for the parish.

As for the cost, Belton did not have a figure for the Red River portion. He said, “The expenditure will be 500 to 600 million dollars.  A parish-by-parish economic impact has not been determined.

Trey Wilkerson is the land man, doing surveys for acquisition of the right of way.  He said, “There has been no pushback from landowners.  We will continue to answer questions from the police jury and the public.”

A map of the proposed route was presented to the jury by Belton who said, “This is a draft, and I will need to get it back.”  He also supplied a copy for local media to view.  The route through the parish is just south of the Caddo, Bossier and Bienville parish lines.  It runs north of Hall Summit.

The Journal requested to photograph the map for inclusion with this report.  Our request was denied.  The Journal reminded Belton that anything presented in an open, public meeting becomes public.  He still denied the Journal’s request and collected the copy of the map we viewed as well as the copies handed out to the individual police jurors.

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