Duke Energy proposes power line relocation near Trail of Tears corridor

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/14/2020 02:30 PM
MURPHY, N.C. – Duke Energy is requesting a special use authorization to make improvements to infrastructure that crosses national forest lands, and the U.S. Forest Service is taking public comments through July 17.

The power company wants to move 4,900 feet of the existing overhead power line that crosses the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County and reinstall it on a series of new power poles within the N.C. Department of Transportation right-of-way along N.C. 28.

Duke would perform the relocation using a helicopter, and hand crews would cut the wooden poles at ground level using chainsaws, leaving them in place to decompose. A combination of new and existing line would be attached to a series of newly installed utility poles totaling about 6,400 feet.

These activities would occur within half a mile of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The Forest Service would compile and submit a heritage resources report to interested tribal governments, and the report would include geo-referenced information from Western Carolina University.

In 2010, the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and United Keetoowah Band opposed a plan to build an electricity substation near the tribes’ sacred site of Kituwah near Cherokee, N.C. Kituwah is considered the mother town of all Cherokee and one of the most sacred sites for all Cherokee people.

The public can submit comments to SM.FS.R8ncnancom@usda.gov or mail them to Steverson Moffat, NEPA Planning Team Leader, Nantahala National Forest, 123 Woodland Drive, Murphy, NC 28906. Oral comments can be directed to 828-837-5152, ext. 108. Contact Bo Wood with questions at 828-524-6441, ext. 415. Comments must include a name and address, the title of the proposed action – Duke Energy Fontana Lake Power Line Relocation Project – specific substantive comments and a signature or other means of identification verification.

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