In a letter to Maria and Alan Palmer, Chairman Smitherman states that the Commission has studied the issue of possible health effects from exposure to magnetic fields related to transmission lines. He says the Commission has concluded there is no conclusive link between potential health issues and exposure to electric and magnetic fields. He states that this position is shared by such groups as the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization.
Mr. and Mrs. Palmer sent Chairman Smitherman a letter on August 17th stating that they were concerned about LCRA increasing the size of the existing 138 kV transmission line that is only 250 feet from their house to a 345 kV line. The Palmers also expressed concern about visual pollution, stating that they had paid CTEC to bury their power lines when they built their house. They also have spent money designing a Wildlife Management Plan that they claim would be affected by the proposed transmission line. The Palmers describe a video segment on Central Texas Gardener and an article in Nature’s Garden publication that have featured their property.
Chairman Smitherman responds to these concerns by stating that one of the most important factors he considers when evaluating applications for transmission lines is the impact that the land would have on landowners. He says this is especially important in ares such as the Hill Country. He then lists the other statutory requirements that the Commission must consider and discusses the policy of prudent avoidance. Chairman Smitherman describes the policy of prudent avoidance as avoiding placing power lines close to people’s homes, to the greatest extent possible.
He also says the Commission designated LCRA to construct the transmission line as part of a legislative requirement to develop renewable resources in areas of West Texas and the Panhandle. The legislation requires the Commission to make a decision on any application within 180 days, otherwise the proposal is deemed approved. Chairman Smitherman closes by saying that “when the application is filed, the Commission will evaluate the routes, and attempt to minimize the impact of the land on landowners and the cost of the line to ratepayers.”