Duke to choose Alternate Site for Tie Substation
By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The view-shed at Kituwah is saved, according to a statement from Duke Energy released on Monday, Aug. 2 stating that the company will choose an alternate site for their new electric tie substation. The original site for the substation was just above Kituwah, the Mother Town of the Cherokee, and would have affected the view-shed from the site.
The company statement said they will choose from two sites – Swain Country Industrial Park or one in the Sheppard’s Creek area – later in the year.
Brett Carter, Duke Energy Carolinas president said in a statement Monday, “Our customers expect and rely on Duke Energy to provide the electricity that powers their homes and businesses. Finding a new location for this important infrastructure allows us to deliver on our commitment to customers, without impacting the landscape around Kituwah.”
The company said that after a final decision is made on a site, they will hold a community meeting to discuss the plans – something that was not done when the first site was selected.
“As Principal Chief, it is my honor and responsibility to protect our land base and our Cherokee culture,” Principal Chief Michell Hicks said on Monday. “The land of Kituwah, our mother town, is central to our identity as a tribal nation and I will do everything in my power to ensure this sacred site is protected.”
“I appreciate Duke Power’s understanding and cooperation with this important, yet sensitive, issue. I look forward to a mutually beneficial resolution to this situation in the near future.”
In March, Swain County Commissioners passed a 90-day moratorium on construction at the site so that possible alternative sites could be found and explored. Last month, Duke officials said they were close to finding new sites with the help of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Swain County Commissioners.
Russell Townsend, EBCI Tribal Historic Preservation officer, commented on Monday’s news, “I was delighted to hear Duke is abandoning their plans to build the tie-station at the Hyatt Creek site. They will use one of two alternate site locations which should mean that there will be no visual impacts to Kituwah from this undertaking.”
“I am grateful that Duke Energy was willing to seriously consider EBCI concerns and explore alternatives. I think this example should demonstrate to other federal agencies that construction alternatives that address tribal concerns exist and should be seriously considered.”