Jon Koonsman is breathing a cautious sigh of relief.
For now, it appears the electric transmission line that threatened to uproot a piece of his family's heritage - a massive oak tree believed to be at least 200 years old - has been rerouted.
An embattled Koonsman said he was surprised to learn Monday a proposal that was pulled from the table in early March, may be the final route of the 300-mile line that will cut across 11 counties including Erath and about 100 local properties.
"I believe we have an agreement," Koonsman said Tuesday. "But no contracts have been signed. It would be nice to have it in writing, but I don't know if we ever will. It makes me nervous, but I am obviously enormously relieved."
And the agreement may have come just in time.
"They told us a while back (site preparation and construction) would begin May 18," he said. "That's why the fight took on such an urgency."
The battle started in June 2011 when Lone Star Transmission began acquiring easements and rights of access from local landowners.
For Koonsman, an Empire-Tribune columnist, the battle has been spelled out through a series of columns chronicling efforts to protect the 'big tree."
"Heritage is not a house on a cul-de-sac and moving every few years," he said, adding his family has called the Duffau area ranch home for 140 years. "The tree means everything to us, it's one place my family, even extended family, wanted to protect. When we talk about 'our place,' we aren't talking about the ranch. That spot - and that tree - is our place and it wouldn't be the same without it."
For now, Koonsman said the fight is over.
"I told my kids and the rest of the family we were just going to fight like hell," he said. "But I think it is over, I have no agenda past this and would like to think it is over."