Tryon chooses not to approve resolution against Duke Energy

Published 9:27 pm Friday, August 21, 2015

By Leah Justice

The Town of Tryon took a different approach than other Polk governments to Duke Energy’s modernization plan that includes the possibility of running transmissions lines through Polk County.

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Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, April 18 and discussed a resolution others in the county have approved against the transmission lines running through the county, but chose not to adopt the resolution.

Instead, Tryon plans to send a letter to Duke Energy and request a meeting.

Town manager Joey Davis said town council received a letter from Polk County Commissioner chair Tom Pack requesting the town adopt a similar resolution to what Polk approved last week. The City of Saluda and Town of Columbus also adopted the resolution.

Commissioner George Baker said Duke Energy’s Craig DeBrew has volunteered to come speak with the town so suggested Tryon invite DeBrew to a meeting.

“At least they can’t say we’ve written a nasty letter to them without talking to them,” Baker said. “I just like the idea of letting them come in and talk. I don’t want to alienate Duke Power but certainly don’t want an ugly transmission line going through someone’s horse farm. We can invite the public.”

Commissioner Roy Miller said he thinks the town should send Duke a letter stating the town’s opposition on the layout. He mentioned Spartanburg County’s resolution that said if it does come through, that it be the least invasive on peoples’ properties.

Baker said we need electricity and sooner or later someone is going to have a pole in their yard.

“I’d rather see an ugly pole than be in the dark,” said Baker.

“But does it have to be a pole,” asked commissioner Happy McLeod.

Commissioner Bill Ingham said the town does have some opposition and it should let Duke Energy know in a nice way.

Tryon Mayor Jim Wright asked Davis to draft an invitation to DeBrew and to include the town’s thoughts that it doesn’t want lines in Polk County. He said the Spartanburg County resolution, he thinks, is the way to go.

During commissioner comments, Wright said he appreciated the discussion council had about Duke Power’s plans.

“It was probably as well-reasoned as any governmental body has been so far about the Duke Power issue,” Wright said. “It’s one of those things that everybody’s against, and that’s okay, they’re entitled to their position.”

Wright said he thinks the town should take the opportunity to say to Duke if they are going to do it, “and I think all of us in our heart and in our head know that Duke is going to build those transmission towers, not underground, but somewhere,” to do it with as much thought as Duke can put into it and with as little environmental damage as possible.

A meeting date with Duke Energy has not yet been set. Commissioners said they are fine with calling a special meeting if Duke Energy is able prior to the town’s September meeting.