Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes News

Area residents address MPSC in Lansing on Consumers Energy’s proposed high voltage transmission line

LANSING – On Friday, March 24, a group of Van Buren County residents traveled to Lansing to attend a Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) meeting and voice their concerns regarding Consumer Energy’s proposed high voltage transmission line from a substation on Van Kal in Antwerp Township to the Lawrence-Crandall Business Centre in Lawrence. A packed room, plus 81 virtual attendees, listened to over an hour of public comment.
Public comment included concerns over loss in property values, loss of trees and wildlife habitat, potential health hazards, negative impact on Cody Kresta Vineyard and Winery, 45727 27th St., Mattawan, and Portman Nature Preserve, 28779 – 27815 49th Ave., Almena and Antwerp townships, emotional stress on 20 miles of landowners, potential loss of a war memorial, and potential loss of homes. Martha Labadie, an Almena Township resident affected by the proposed route, said, “This should never happen in America, home of the brave, land of the free. This is not freedom, losing our home, our property, our trees, our peaceful existence, and all we have worked for our entire lives.”
Commissioners were provided with a joint statement from State Senator Aric Nesbitt and State Representative Pauline Wendzel against the proposed route, as well as resolutions from Van Buren County Board of Commissioners, Almena, Antwerp, Paw Paw, and Lawrence Township boards, all opposing the line.
It was suggested Consumers Energy reengage in talks to partner with American Electric Power (AEP). The planned partnership, which would dissolve the need to run the line through homeowners’ properties, failed after more than a year of negotiations. It was also suggested Consumers run the line along Interstate 94.
At the conclusion of public comment, Commissioner Dan Scripps, MPSC chair, said they had not received an application from Consumers Energy nor approved any expenditures or rates for the project. Additionally, installation of the line was not included in Consumer Energy’s five-year distribution plan. He also said, “We have as many questions as you do.” Commissioner Tremaine Phillips said they will investigate and look into the matter.

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