Residents speak out against power lines

HOKE COUNTY On Monday night, residents packed a public hearing about the possible line installation in Raeford. Progress Energy officials were also present at the public hearing, but they did not speak.

It was the second public hearing held on the proposed power line. About 100 residents packed the hearing with no one speaking in favor of the plan.

Hoke County land owner Joyce Harden says she has been waiting for the moment to tell state utility officials that the price of progress will be her family's financial ruin.

"My husband has worked very hard, this was like an investment too us," Harden said. "This thing is going to split us right in half, its going to kill the value of our property."

Progress Energy wants to build a 64 mile electrical distribution line from Richmond County through part of Moore, Hoke and Cumberland County. The line is needed they say for increasing power demands.

"If I am not mistaken Progress Energy is a for profit company, if you take my land to build a school, or enlarge Fort Bragg --a highway no one would ever profit from that-- but as I see it, I am helping Progress Energy pay for their power line," Hoke County farmer Joe Pool said.

Progress energy officials are negotiating easements with the property owners.

But residents are also voicing concerns about the environmental impact of the power lines.

"Because we are afraid of these lines nobody wants them on their property, nobody wants to live close to them," Hoke County resident Carol Bunce said. "What affects the people of Hoke County financially and socially affects all of us in Hoke County."

A company spokesman says they looked at hundreds of alternative routes for the power lines.

Two more public hearings will be held one on Aug. 19 in Scotland County and a final on in Raleigh Aug. 21.

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