Hunter: I support landowners’ rights to have concerns heard
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a motion in support of the city of Bixby and concerned area landowners, who are opposing the newly planned route of the Wind Catcher project’s power line.
The new route was pursued after PSO’s original route through Osage County was changed in January. Affected residents and city officials were notified last month of the new route by mail.
City officials and landowners are asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to postpone a July 2 hearing to allow the city time for further review of the case and to provide corporation commissioners with concerns.
Attorney General Hunter said because Bixby residents weren’t notified until last month of the new route, they were effectively disallowed from participating in any previous public hearings before the commission.
“I stand in support of the rights of the affected landowners and residents to have their voices and concerns heard by the commissioners,” Attorney General Hunter said. “This is a clear burden for the Bixby community and stands to hinder economic development in our state. I want to ensure the city’s interests are properly addressed.
“From the beginning, our position has been that Wind Catcher does not meet the requirements for preapproval and cost recovery and should be denied by the commission. We also want to ensure customers are protected if PSO moves forward, with or without commission preapproval. Not hearing from residents along the new route would be a disservice to this great community.”
In motions filed with the OCC, Bixby officials write, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) never formally notified the OCC of its plans to change the original route of the power line from Osage County to a southern route through running through the city.
Bixby officials continue, PSO never updated its application or testimony to show the differences between routes, the increased cost and never addressed how the electric line may affect the health, safety and welfare of citizens of Oklahoma who may live near the line.
Attorney General Hunter has said PSO has failed on several fronts to qualify for preapproval and cost recovery, including failure to comply with the OCC’s competitive bidding rules, the inability to show an actual need for the additional generation capacity from the project, and unrealistic assumptions as the basis for PSO’s estimated ratepayer savings.
His opposition has been joined by the OCC’s administrative law judge and the public utility division.
To read Attorney General Hunter’s response in support of the city of Bixby, click here.
To read Bixby’s filings with the OCC, click here.