“I’d just as soon they stayed away from (my property,) but you can’t fight it,” Bruce McMillian said about a set of high-voltage power lines that East Kentucky Power Cooperative proposes to run across Madison County from a generating plant in Clark County to a substation near Lancaster in Garrard County.

McMillian, who lives on Dale Hollow Lake near Byrdstown, Tenn., drove to Richmond on Thursday with his wife to attend an open house that EKPC conducted at the Best Western-Holiday Plaza on the Eastern Bypass to provide information to property owners potentially effected by the new set of lines.

McMillian said he owns property near the Garrard County substation.

“You can fight them, but you can’t win,” McMillian said. “You’d just end up losing money in attorneys’ fees, so I guess we’ll just roll with the punches.”

Macmillan’s wife said, “We don’t like power lines, but we realize they are necessary. We like to flip a switch and have the lights come on.”

EKPC, a non-profit power generating cooperative, will seek to purchase easements with property owners along a corridor 150 feet wide that will run for about 36 miles, mostly in Madison County, said company spokesman Nick Comer.

As a public utility, EKPC has the power of eminent domain to condemn the property of unwilling sellers.

For most of its length, the new corridor will parallel a set of existing EKPC lines, Comer side. As the line passes Richmond to the northeast, crossing Jacks Creek and Tates Creek roads, EKPC is looking at two alternatives corridors, both with wide latitude.

After meeting with EKPC officials, Jeptha Fortney, who owns farmland in the Red House community, said, “We live with a set of power lines that already runs across our property. I guess we can live with another one.”

Fortney would like for the new lines to follow a different path from the existing set, however.

“We told them we’d rather have the new lines run along the south side of our property instead of parallel to the existing lines on the north side,” he said. “That would put it farther away from our barn.”

“That’s the kind of information we were looking for at these open houses,” Comer said as he and EKPC employees were packing up their displays. “To the extent possible, we will try to accommodate the property owners’ desires.”

Some 77 property owners and 17 other interested persons attended the Richmond open house. Up to 171 property owners in Madison County could be affected by the new lines, Comer said.

EKPC will attempt to minimize impacts, visual, environmental and otherwise,” Comer said. The lines will probably be borne by steel, H-frame supports. Right-of-way negotiations will be conducted in the spring of 2007 with construction likely to begin in 2008 with completion in 2009.

“The new lines are necessary,” Comer said, “to keep pace with the tremendous growth in Kentucky and the accompanying demand for electricity.”

EKPC generates electricity for 16 local cooperatively distributors in Kentucky and will soon add a 17th.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 623-1669, Ext. 267

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