10 On Your Side: Route of proposed power line to cut through subdivision

Duke Energy has recorded easement rights along this route since the 1950's

WTHI Photo, Jon Swaner

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Since new federal environmental rules will be forcing Duke Energy to shut down four of its power-generating units, they are needing to build a new transmission line from the Dresser Substation to the Terre Haute power plant.

But, there are some property owners in the area who have problems with the proposed route.

On Monday News 10 reported Duke Energy has recorded easement rights along this route since the 1950’s. The company removed an overhead power line in the mid 1990’s, but retained easement rights for future use.

WTHI Photo, Jon Swaner
WTHI Photo, Jon Swaner

News 10’s Jon Swaner spoke with one property owner in the West Terre Haute area who claims she will now have to tear down her pool because of this new transmission line. While the pool was technically built on the property Duke Energy has easement rights to, she claims she was never informed of this.

Tune in to News 10 First @ Five and News 10 at 6 p.m. for more information on this story.

UPDATE by Jon Swaner:

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Duke Energy is building a transmission line through western Vigo County.  The company says it’s needed to maintain reliable power to west-central Indiana.

That power comes at a great cost to residents in a Vigo County subdivision.

Landowners have questioned the validity of the easement Duke Energy will use to build this power line.  The company is confident the easement will hold up in court.  We learned this easement runs through the heart of a subdivision and right next to several homes.

“We have a need to build a power line to ensure a reliable supply of electricity here in west-central Indiana,” said Angeline Protogere of Duke Energy.

The easement’s path runs through the heart of Lakeview Place, a subdivision in western Vigo County.

“Duke Energy hasn’t really told us really anything but through letters,” said Kim Lyon, who bought her home in Lakeview eight years ago.  But she and her husband weren’t told about this easement.   Kim admits she didn’t attend the public hearing duke energy hosted in West Terre Haute.

“I didn’t think that they would actually come through a subdivision like this, come over a lake, come over all of these houses since there are empty fields on either side of us,” said Kim.

The easement clips the Lyon family garage, but that’s not the worst of it.  If this power line is actually built, it’s going to come through the heart of their back yard.  They’ll lose their outbuildings, they’ll lose five trees, and they’ll lose the family swimming pool.  As Kim told us, they only have three-quarters of an acre, and Duke Energy stands to take three-quarters of that.

“I was sick.  What are we going to do?  You can’t… They say eminent domain, they’ve got the right to come onto your property and take it,” said Kim.

Kim says neighbors have talked about hiring a lawyer.  One said his father, who also lives here, has retained one.

That leads us back to Duke Energy’s request for a declaratory judgment, or what they call “a legal mechanism to resolve questions like this.”

Jon Swaner question to Duke Energy: “Doesn’t it seem a little extreme to have to go through a court system for something where you have an easement already?”

Angeline Protogere of Duke Energy – “Well again, this involves about 70 land owners, and I think what this is about also is a real need to build a line in a relatively short period of time.  We need this line operational by 2016, and when you’re working with this many land owners and have that tight of a deadline, this seemed like a logical step to take.”

Our coverage into this issue is just beginning, as this story still leaves a lot of questions.  We’ll work to get those questions answered for you.  If you have concerns you’d like to tell us, send us an email, comment on our Facebook page, or use our report it feature on wthitv.com.

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