The Arkansas Public Service Commission today said it would reconsider both the need for and route of a 345-kilovolt SWEPCO power line through northern Arkansas. 

The Commission, which earlier approved the line, but on a route SWEPCO didn’t like, said that while there is some need for new transmission capability in the region, “the record is presently insufficient to determine: the need for the particular 345 kV project that has been proposed, whether that project is consistent with the pubIic convenience and necessity, and whether the project represents an “acceptable adverse environmental impact, considering . . . the various alternatives, if any, and other pertinent considerations.”

The PSC order said it wants more testimony on environmental impact as well as more testimony on need for the line and whether needs could be met by other means such as “expanding, upgrading, or building lower capacity facilities, including 161 kV lines, and if not why not, the comparative costs associated with the options, the environmental impact of the options, and the long term sufficiency of the options.”

The PSC also will hold another hearing on routing. It said if SWEPCO proposes to change routes, it must notify landowners. Among other things, the PSC wants to know if existing 161 KV lines could be upgraded or if existing right of way could be used to limit environmental impact.

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Save the Ozarks, a grassroots group, had asked for the rehearing on the need and route for the line, which has stirred strong grassroots opposition n Boone and Carroll Counties. SWEPCO contested the route chosen, its least favorite, which verges into two counties in Missouri.

Heres the full order.