By Paul Garrod
ANTWERP TWP. – On Tuesday night, March 14, the Antwerp Township Board went on record opposing Consumers Energy’s proposed new 20-mile-high voltage distribution powerline through Antwerp Township, as well as Almena, Paw Paw and Lawrence townships.
The project is anticipated to take several years, starting in 2024 and projected to be completed by the end of 2025. Consumers Energy has proposed placement of the new powerline above ground across various residential, agricultural, and Portman Preserve, within Antwerp Township.
The Antwerp Township Board stated in the resolution, “Consumers will unnecessarily condemn public and private lands to implement their upgrade….Antwerp citizens, by and large, object to Consumers placement of the new powerlines because of safety concerns, inconvenience, and reduced property values, and; the negative impact on Portman Preserve, which offers 189 acres of high-quality prairie fen, wetland, savanna and woodland habitats, and is blessed with water from three lakes, a creek, and hundreds of springs which would be devastating to this area not to mention the home to an astounding number of rare, threatened, and endangered plant and animal species, including 447 plants, 20+ mammals, 107 birds, 24+ reptiles and amphibians, 35 butterflies.”
The township board further stated in the resolution, “necessity to build this new line is to deliver more reliable service to the entire county.”
The new line will not benefit Antwerp Township residents, according to the township board.
The board stated in the resolution, “AEP/ Indiana Michigan Power has a substation to serve the Lawrence-Crandall business park which we believe is the solution and we would strongly encourage Consumers Energy to sit back down and negotiate using this substation facility.”
The board concluded the resolution saying, “Antwerp Township Board of Trustees stands with its citizens in their objection to placement of Consumers’ powerlines across residential, agricultural and park lands. Antwerp Township does not find that a public necessity exists for the taking of residential, agricultural, and park lands for the placement of the Consumers; new powerlines and AEP substation should be used with Consumers Energy. Therefore, Antwerp Township, through its Board of Trustees, objects to Consumers; unnecessary placement of their new electric lines across residential, agricultural, and park lands.”