Hendersonville Leaders offer to partner with Duke Power in shocking and upsetting move

Hendersonville’s leaders have just become some of the first local representatives in the western Carolinas to offer to work with Duke Power.  Instead of submitting comments or passing resolutions opposing Duke’s Western Carolinas Modernization Plan, the Hendersonville City Manager and City Council have offered to let Duke Power build their transmission line through the city of Hendersonville.  Instead of standing with the people they are supposed to represent, City Manager John Connet has decided to help Duke Power devastate our local communities.

The Hendersonville Lightning has quite a few revealing quotes from both Connet and City Councilman Jeff Miller:

“We would request that any easement agreement obtained by Duke Energy for this project include a provision that allows the construction of a greenway within the transmission line right of way,” City Manager John Connet wrote to Duke Energy district manager Craig DeBrew on Tuesday. “In addition, we would request that Duke Energy serve as an active partner in the construction of a greenway segment within the city of Hendersonville.”

Miller acts as if this offer to Duke Power will be more constructive in the long run, saying:

“I just got tired of everybody else saying ‘not in my backyard’ and we wanted to say if it had to be done let’s parallel, use the same right of way and add to it,” he said. “My stand on it, is if this thing has to be done let’s keep it off the ridgelines. We’ll ask them to work with us in the city to keep the damage down to a minimum and participate with us in construction of the greenway.”

While a greenway under the power plants might sound like a nice idea, Duke Power has never allowed this in the past.  Yet Connet, Miller, and the rest of the City Council felt it wise to ask for it in this case.  Duke Power corporate spokesman Tom Williams had this to say on the issue of potential greenways:

“Not that I’m aware of,” Williams said when asked whether any Duke transmission line corridor doubles as a greenway. “I’ve never seen that before. We seek to buy the easement so often other people still own the property…. We don’t want to get involved in that because it’s private property.”

Please tell your leaders, if you live in Henderson County, that you want them to join the rest of us in opposing Duke Power’s plan, not for laying out the red carpet for them.  If we are to work with Duke Power on this project, at least make them demonstrate a real need for this transmission line, instead of just accepting it and offering up our homes and mountains.