December 29, 2022
From: Bryan Livingston, Mayor of Argyle
To: Argyle Town Council and Town of Argyle
Subject: Oncor Transmission Line Opposition Progress Report
Last week there were several important developments in the campaign by Argyle and Northlake to prevent the construction of a 345 KV transmission line using routes that would have an unacceptable negative impact on both towns, as shown in public maps released by Oncor December 7-8, 2022. The Christmas holiday slowed things down, but Argyle and Northlake staff and leaders have remained focused and work is ongoing. We are preparing for an intense effort once key people in government are again available to work with us next week.
Before I summarize the status of the campaign, I want to emphasize that the impacts that Argyle is most concerned about include serious damage to established neighborhoods, where the 345 KV line D4 and D3 segments and the required spacing from occupied structures are likely to force dozens of residents out of their homes. At the same time, the D3 segment also passes over or near land occupied by Liberty Christian School and Cross Timbers Church. The D3 and D4 segments would also severely damage the remnants of the Eastern Cross Timbers post oak and blackjack oak old-growth forest within the town. Finally, the D3 and D4 segments are at odds with the health and safety of Argyle residents that Oncor is required to consider under the principle of prudent avoidance.
The leadership of Argyle and our partners in Northlake are working to prevent serious harm to our citizens and our natural environment. We have offered up a viable alternative that crosses Corps of Engineers property and we will continue to press for this solution to the challenge of reinforcing the N. Texas electrical grid.
- Availability of segment maps. Oncor provided segment or link maps to the Town of Argyle. The maps that are relevant for Argyle and ETJ citizens are also available for viewing on the Oncor Transmission Projects website, at this link: https://www.oncor.com/content/dam/oncorwww/documents/about-us/transmission-system/current-trasmission-line-projects/Ramhorn-hill-to-duham/Fig3C_ConsMap.pdf
- Town of Argyle Resolution. The Argyle Town Council held a regular meeting on December 19, 2022. Several action items were voted on during the meeting, including the passage of a resolution that calls for Oncor to avoid the routes that pass through Argyle. The resolution incorporates an Argyle Urban Forest Study, so it is a large file, which you can access here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5u9s1kao61jbq53/December%2019%2C%202022%20Oncor%20Resolution.pdf?dl=0
- Hiring of expert consultants. The Argyle Town Council also authorized the Town Administrator to hire Attorney Thomas Broncato and public relations firm DFW Strategic Communications at the December 19 meeting. Mr. Broncato is the General Counsel for the Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor, which represents the interests of dozens of Texas cities where Oncor provides service. DFW Strategic Communications (StratComm) has a long track record of serving the public information needs of Texas Municipal League (TML) cities. Despite the holiday slowdown, both of these consultants are working hard to serve the town’s interests by engaging with Oncor and creating a public relations strategy.
- Discussion of the southern alternative route with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). On December 19, 2022 I joined Mayor Rettig of Northlake, Argyle Town Administrator Erika McComis, and Northlake Town Manager Drew Corn for a conference call with representatives of the USACE, staff members from the office of Congressman Michael Burgess, and staff members from the office of Senator John Cornyn. USACE representatives told the towns that they were willing to have a dialogue with Oncor about using Corps land for the southern alternative but mentioned that a crossing of Corps property could affect the schedule for the new line because of environmental review requirements. Later in the week Senator Cruz’ office was in touch with us and were given a complete briefing on the support we require from Federal office holders to persuade USACE and Oncor to move ahead with consideration of the southern alternative.
- Rollout of media strategy and assistance to citizens for submitting comments to Oncor. StratComm and the staff have been working to provide support to citizens for comment submission to Oncor since the company was hired last week. A guide and talking points will appear on the town’s Oncor webpage shortly. StratComm is also working with local news desks to set up TV and print coverage of the Oncor issue. Finally, StratComm is launching a social media campaign called “Speak Up Argyle” which will collect and post personal videos from Argyle citizens. If you would like to participate in “Speak Up Argyle” please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have questions, suggestions, or concerns to share about the campaign to oppose Oncor transmission lines passing through populated areas of Argyle and Northlake, please reach out to me at email@example.com