Farmers Worry about TVA’s New Proposed Power Lines

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HAYWOOD COUNTY, Tenn. — West Tennessee farmers said their income is at risk now that Tennessee Valley Authority has proposed to put transmission lines on their plots of land. On Thursday, farmers from Fayette and Haywood counties met with TVA officials discuss the power lines that could bring power to the massive Memphis Mega Site. The state said it could bring a big industry, like the Volkswagon Plant in Chattanooga, to the area. Farmers like Nick Crafton said for them, right now is the busiest time of the year. “TVA should not be using imminent domain to take prime farmland for a proposal on speculation,” Crafton said. Kim Choate, the manager of transmission siting for TVA, said TVA will try to work with each property owner the best they can. “If we selected an alternate route that affected a property owner that farms we would work with them to try to minimize our impacts to his operation,” Choate said. Choate said TVA will appraise the property and look at where on the land the transmission line will be placed and pay the farmer for the property. However, if TVA chooses a farmer’s property, that farmer will be forced to turn over their land. Some farmers said with the new transmission line they may not be able to use their big irrigation systems, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Irrigation simply replaces a good rain, it’s using water to make a quarter inch rain just to keep plant at its most productive,” Crafton said. Choate said TVA is trying to help all West Tennesseans by creating jobs and building up the rural area. “Just looking at the site and how large it is, it has great potential to bring in lots of money,” Choate said. TVA said property owners have 30 days from Thursday to file a public comment. At the end of the 30 days, they will decide where the transmission lines will affect the least amount of land owners.

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