Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas staff on Jan. 25 recommended approval of the application for construction of about 9.8 miles of new transmission line on the route proposed by Lyntegar Electric Cooperative, Route 1, in relation to the cooperative’s proposed 138-kV transmission line in Dawson County, Texas.
As noted by staff, Lyntegar last November filed an application to amend a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for the proposed line.
Staff recommended that Lyntegar be ordered to comply with certain reporting requirements and to follow certain measures to mitigate construction impacts.
Lyntegar identified Route 1 as the best alternative when weighing as a whole, certain factors because:
- It is the shorter route at 9.8 miles; Route 2 is 11.7 miles
- It is the less expensive of the two at about $6.6m; Route 2 is about $7.4m
- There are two habitable structures within 500 feet of the centerline of the route; the number of habitable structures within 500 feet of the centerline of Route 2 is eight
- 80% of the right of way (ROW) has been acquired and it parallels existing ROWs; 20% of the ROW has been acquired for Route 2
Route 1 is the southern route and consists of segments along County Road G, County Road 17, County Road I, Highway 137, County Road K and County Road 15.
Staff also said that Route 1 was the route suggested by the only intervenors in the case as their preferred route due to bordering their property rather than cutting across it.
According to an attached memorandum of John Poole of the Infrastructure and Reliability Division, measures to mitigation construction impacts include that in the event Lyntegar or its contractors encounter any artifacts or other cultural resources during project construction, work is to cease immediately in the vicinity of the resource and the discovery is to be reported to the Texas Historical Commission.
Also, Lyntegar is to exercise extreme care to avoid affecting non-targeted vegetation or animal life when using chemical herbicides to control vegetation within the ROW, and is to minimize the amount of flora and fauna disturbed during construction of the transmission line, except to the extent necessary to establish appropriate ROW clearance for the line.
Among other things, Lyntegar is to cooperate with directly affected landowners to implement minor deviations in the approved route to minimize the impact of the line.
Poole noted that he evaluated the two proposed routes provided by Lyntegar in the application as well as the environmental assessment (EA) prepared by JGB Consulting and feedback from the intervenors.
There are no recreational or park areas within 1,000 feet of the centerline of either route. Poole also said that JGB Consulting conducted a review of the cultural resources in the area from the prehistoric era to the present and it is anticipated that the project will not have significant impacts to cultural resources.
Noting that there are birds in the area, Poole said that Lyntegar is to use best management practices to minimize their impact. Additionally, Lyntegar is to conduct a pre-construction survey of the crossing of the Sulphur Springs Draw for Texas Horned Lizards should the construction take place between March and October.