Some landowners oppose a project by the Nebraska Public Power District to build a high-voltage electrical transmission line across the Sand Hills.
Troy Petersen is a rancher in Holt and Wheeler counties and says one concern is that construction equipment will tear up the fragile Sand Hills.
“They plan on using 25-ton cranes on sandy Sand Hill pasture,” Peterson says. “That’s not going to work. The equipment is just too heavy.”
Petersen says another big concern is that the sandy soil will blow away once it’s disturbed by the utility’s construction work.
“Every time the NPPD is going to come in and drill for one of their towers, they’ll be creating a blowout,” Peterson says. “After they leave, all of that sandy ground is going to be disturbed and when that wind starts blowing, it’s just going to create a blowout.”
Petersen says many landowners likely won’t sign the necessary easements so the project can go forward, which may force the utility to adopt more drastic measures, like trying to seize the land.
“There’s going to be a whole lot of people who are not going to be willing to give up their land,” he says. “One of the things they talked about was going into eminent domain if they have to.”
Petersen says NPPD will have a hard time getting eminent domain because they haven’t proven in a court that it’s a necessary project. Also, there are substations on either end of the proposed project but he says neither one will supply power to customers in the Sand Hills.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton