‘To the Editor,
The Center for Rural Affairs recently released a report, From the Ground Up, Addressing Key Community Concerns in Clean Energy Transmission, which examines the clashes that can arise between communities and transmission line developers and the causes of those clashes, with a unique focus on proposing a set of solutions to those issues.
The report found six common issues that surround transmission development — agriculture, conservation, health, eminent domain, need for the project and fairness. After identifying these causes, this report uses existing developer practices and current state policy as a basis for suggesting solutions. Chief among these suggestions are increased communication between communities, landowners and developers; and employing feedback to change regulatory policy governing the siting, routing and construction of transmission projects.
The findings make it clear that developers must go out of their way to communicate openly and often, make the process transparent for stakeholders, and seek to compromise when possible. Interactions with landowners and communities should be seen not only as an opportunity to improve and refine each transmission project, but also as a means to establish ways to modify the transmission regulatory process for the better.
In order to improve the transmission system in the Midwest and across the country, it is vital that developers and advocates confront the concerns of those affected. Infrastructure is important, but it is essential that it be done in partnership with communities.
Cener for Rural Affairs,