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Duke Energy selects location for controversial electrical station
By STAFF REPORTS
Tues, Nov 09, 2010
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Duke Energy announced Nov. 2 the electricity tie station that was the center of controversy earlier this year will be constructed inside the Swain County, N.C., Industrial Park.
After months of meetings and negotiations involving Duke representatives, citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Swain County Commissioners regarding the tie station, Duke Energy announced in August it would seek another site for the station.
It was to be built near Hyatt Creek and the Kituwah mound site that is sacred to the Cherokee people.
In a statement, Duke Energy acknowledged it was through “collaborative discussions” with the EBCI and county leaders that Duke planned to move the tie station to a location out of direct view of Kituwah, a sacred gathering place for Cherokee people that is adjacent to the Tuckaseegee River, near Bryson City, N.C.
Duke officials said the announcement followed a detailed analysis of two sites previously announced when the company decided to move away from the original location near the Kituwah mound. Duke will share the tie station plan at an informational community session on Nov. 16 at the Swain County Senior Center in Bryson City.
The tie station is part of the West Mill Line upgrade. Once complete the upgraded line will serve customers in Swain and Jackson counties as well as the EBCI boundary in Cherokee, N.C.
EBCI Principal Chief Michell Hicks said he is pleased through cooperation with Duke Energy the tribe will continue to have reliable electricity and the landscape around Kituwah will be protected.
Duke officials said with foreseeable increased electrical growth in the region, including the expansion of Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel and Casino in Cherokee, the current power delivery system is no longer adequate to serve all the electrical needs of the region. The tie station will increase the capacity of the existing electrical system, ensuring reliable electric service well into the future.