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Penrose woman claims ’eminent domain’ threat regarding transmission line project, Black Hills claims ‘voluntary approach’

Posted at 10:28 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-27 21:48:12-04

PENROSE – “Not on my property” is the cry of many people in southern Colorado who are facing a possible transmission line running right through their land.

Black Hills Energy is proposing a 39-mile line and substations for Pueblo West, Canon City, and Penrose.

A woman from Penrose who is against this shared with News 5 that she’s been threatened with eminent domain (the ability of local, state or federal government to condemn private property to complete projects deemed a benefit to the public).

Janet Jordan said she and her neighbors were verbally told early last year that if they did not sign off on what the company wanted they would face eminent domain. However, Black Hills said that’s not accurate and that the company hasn’t taken a legal stance with any property owners on this project.

Jordan said, “We’ve worked hard all of our lives for this property.”

She fears what will happen if a transmission line is installed on her land.

“We’ve got some flooding issues and foundation issues that we’re going to have…it’s going to impact my animals and their health…viewscape, our lifestyle.”

She also has fire concerns.

“Typically we are in a drought situation…we do get high winds down here. One of those lines goes down…it’s going to start a fire line through here.”

When News 5 asked Black Hills about this Senior Project Manager Seth Boutilier said, “Our transmission lines are very well maintained…not impossible, very highly unlikely.”

The company’s plan is something that Jordan and many others are against. Adding fuel to the fire is that “we were told that if we did not sign off on what they wanted to do we’d face eminent domain,” said Jordan.

However, Boutilier said, “Black Hills has taken a voluntary approach to acquire easements at this time.”

Jordan and her neighbors have received offer letters for Black Hills to buy the property needed for the transmission line and dozens have signed the easement.

Boutilier said, “If they’re not happy with that they’re free to contact us or we continue to try to contact them and we work through it.”

As for Jordan, she said, “We’re going to fight it.”

This original project proposal was rejected by Pueblo County commissioners a few months ago. Black Hills plans to submit a new one later this year. Jordan said nothing has been submitted to Fremont County yet.

For those that still have questions about this project Black Hills will be hosting a telephone town hall meeting on Tuesday, July 9th at 5:30 p.m.

Jordan and other members of Penrose Neighbors for a Better Route will be hosting a meeting on June 27th to also continue discussions. The meeting will be held at the Penrose Parks & Recreation building and starts at 6:30 p.m.