A large group of landowners in Erath and surrounding counties gathered at the Stephenville High School Cafeteria Tuesday for an open house hosted by Lone Star Transmission.

The company, which is regulated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), plans on constructing more than 300 miles of Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) high-voltage electric transmission facilities in Texas. The transmission lines will transport energy from wind farms in west Texas to the rest of the state.

“What (landowners) learn, first and foremost, is a better understanding of the process and what we ultimately plan to do,” said Steve Stengel, Lone Star communications director.

“This is an information gathering for the public and Lone Star. It really is a two-way street. It is an opportunity for us to share more information on the project and the public to tell us things we may not have taken into consideration with these routes.”

Stengel said there have been a number of alternative routes identified through Texas. Property owners within 500 feet of the proposed routes were notified ahead of time by Lone Star and were able to view their property in relation to the transmission lines.

One married couple who could potentially be affected by the routes is Mike and Beverly Stewart of DeLeon. The transmission lines run through two of their properties.

“One (property) wouldn’t be that big of a problem, but we own a turf farm and have center-pivot irrigation and that would be a problem,” Beverly said.

The Stewart’s company, 2-1 Turf, could be adversely affected by the transmission lines, something they are not in favor of.

“That’s kind of important to us that it doesn’t interfere with our farm,” Beverly said.

Lone Star is still in the preparation stage of the approval process, which would ultimately grant them a certificate of convenience and necessity (CNN), allowing them to build the transmission lines. The company plans to file an application with the PUCT for a CCN in March 2010.

Until then, Stengel said it is important to educate the public on Lone Star’s plans.

“The other really important thing for people to understand is there have been no decisions made relative to routes,” Stengel said. “At this point, these are all alternatives.”

A questionnaire was provided to landowners at the meeting, which will assist Lone Star’s project team in gaining community interests and concerns. It also evaluates the company’s performance on provided information, such as maps and notifications.

For property owners unable to attend the open house, questionnaires and maps will be provided on Lone Star’s Web site, www.lonestar-transmission.com, by the end of next week. For more information, call (877) 278-8097.