FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 01/11/2018
Representative Jeff Leach Issues Statement Lauding Public Utility Commission's Ruling on "Kittyhawk" Transmission Line & Substation
Representative Jeff Leach Issues Statement Lauding Public Utility Commission's Ruling on "Kittyhawk" Transmission Line & Substation; a Victory for Allen Citizens and Landowners
AUSTIN - Following today's Public Utility Commission's (PUC) ruling against an application to construct 2-5 miles of an electric transmission line and a 5-acre transmission substation in the City of Allen, deemed as the "Kittyhawk" Substation, Representative Jeff Leach issued the following statement:
"Today's ruling by the PUC Commissioners is the direct result of a collaborative effort amongst countless citizens, property owners and elected officials - a true testament to the value of collective teamwork. As the elected State Representative who represents this important corridor of land, I was proud to take part in this process by speaking out, advocating and working against this project - one that could have resulted in devastating economic impacts to our region."
The construction of the Kittyhawk substation and transmission line was initially proposed along the corridor of State Highway 121 near McKinney, Allen and Plano, and was projected to cost at least $25 million - a cost that consumers would ultimately bear through utility rates. Over a year of public input and deliberation occurred through the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), where the Administrative Law Judges on this case deliberated 25 route locations throughout this corridor. Ultimately, in their Proposal for Decision, the Administrative Law Judges ruled to construct Kittyhawk along the stretch of land near Alma & Stacy Road within the City of Allen. PUC staff experts disagreed with this ruling by filing an Exception to the Proposal for Decision- asserting that the burden of proof to substantiate a project of this magnitude had not been met.
In December, the PUC Commissioners of Texas - separate from PUC staff and comprised of three gubernatorial appointees who have the final say on such utility projects - conducted their first public meeting in Austin on the Kittyhawk project; hearing testimony from local landowners, city officials and various stakeholders. During this hearing, Representative Leach provided testimony in opposition to the project, reiterating PUC staff recommendations and asserting that the necessity of such a project had not been substantiated. Further, in the event that the PUC Commissioners should choose to move forward with this project, Representative Leach emphasized the need for collective input on an alternative location and the discussion of underground lines. Today, the PUC Commissioners conducted their second public meeting on Kittyhawk - where they heard closing testimony from Representative Leach in opposition to the project. Shortly after, the three Commissioners unanimously voted against the Kittyhawk application - deeming the project dead.
Representative Leach continued, "My utmost responsibility is to actively listen to the people I am elected to serve, and roll up my sleeves to effectively advocate on their behalf. Today is the direct result of a united team effort, and I am proud of the outcome."
In 2013, Representative Leach took the oath of office to serve House District 67, which is comprised of portions of Allen, Plano, Richardson & Dallas, within Collin County. He serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Urban Affairs and is a member of the House Committee on Economic & Small Business Development.
CONTACT: Mary McClure