Landowners want to pull plug on proposed power line project

CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – A plan to improve electric service in Cumberland County is sparking some controversy.

“We live here, we love this place, and we ride out there where they want to put those power lines, which pretty much will destroy our business,” Linda Strock said.

Strock and her husband Barry own Melody Air Farm along Williams Grove Road in Upper Allen Township. They board horses and use them for things like therapeutic riding. The Strocks say there’s nothing therapeutic about the proposal to put power lines through their farm.

“You ride a horse, there are enough things around here to spook a horse. A plastic bag rolling across the ground they’re like, ‘Ah! That’s a tiger,'” Linda Strock said.

She said the 100-foot towers and the lines they support will scare the horses, which means people won’t be able to ride there.

“My husband Barry lived on this farm since he was 2, so he’s lived here for 64 years. He promised his parents he would always keep it a farm,” Linda Strock said. “We preserved the farm so it can never be developed.”

Farmland preservation folks are trying to figure out what protections they can offer.

“At the end of the day, our biggest concern is that the farms remain viable for agriculture because we’ve made a great investment in the property, and we want them to continue to be viable,” said Stephanie Williams, the farmland preservation administrator for Cumberland County.

There’s another proposed project nearby, a 7-8 mile string of power lines through Monroe, Upper Allen, and Silver Spring townships. As of now, there are three different options.

Many of the property owners in that area also are concerned, but Jessica Long, the regional affairs director for PPL Electric Utilities, said the project is necessary to keep up with growing power demands.

“We understand that people are concerned about the project,” Long said, “but we do have an obligation to them and to the region to continue delivering reliable power into the future, and this project is really needed so we’re able to do that.”

The public has a chance to comment about the larger of the two projects at an open house on Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Monroe Township municipal building.

On the Web:

Williams Grove-Carlisle Transmission Line – PPL Fact Sheet

Alternative Routes Map

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