Planned power line upsets Rockvale residents

ROCKVALE, TENNESSEE - A Rutherford County mother is outraged at the massive electric pole going up next to her home.

Lorie Sisk of Jarratt Drive in Rockvale said she didn't learn of plans to put a pole for a 161,000-volt transmission line less than 70 feet from her house until Tennessee Valley Authority workers dropped it off by her yard.

The 3-foot-wide, 96-foot-long pole is to be one link in a 23-mile transmission line between Murfreesboro and Franklin designed to address reliability problems affecting several power lines in the area, according to TVA documents.

"They are in for a fight," said Sisk. "I've been told by many people that I can't win this fight, but I'm not going to stop until a federal judge looks me in the eye and tells me I'm done." The mother of three said she's concerned about the pole falling on her house and about the potential dangers from the electromagnetic field created around the power lines.

According to a TVA environmental impact assessment of the project, there is conflicting data as to whether there is any statistical relationship between electromagnatic fields and certain rare forms of cancer.

TVA spokesman Gil Francis could not be reached for comment.

Sisk said she knew there was an easement on her property but said she had contacted TVA in the past and been told there were no plans to put anything on the site. She added that the massive pole is far different from a simple power line a homeowner might expect.

Sisk and some of her neighbors have talked to TVA representatives, the county mayor, their county commissioner and their legislators, she said.

They had planned a community meeting in Sisk's backyard Friday to discuss the power lines and are lobbying TVA to hold a public meeting.

"My goal is to put enough pressure on them to stop this," she said.

Kent Hall, who lives about 300 feet from where the power pole would stand, said he opposes the lines coming through his neighborhood, which he said would hurt quality of life, lower property values and possibly endanger the health of those around the lines.

He said he's not certain the effort to stop the power lines from going up will work, but he's going to try everything he can think of to stop the TVA.

"We've got to do something," Hall said.

A portion of the Murfreesboro-to-Franklin line was rerouted in order to reduce the impact on a population of Braun's rock cress, an endangered plant species from the mustard family, according to a March 30 memo from Jon M. Loney of the Tennessee Valley Authority. "If they can reroute the line for wildlife, then they can reroute it for people," Sisk said.


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