The power lines proposed at Horizon Center will be discussed during a Tuesday lunch in Oak Ridge.
The project, advocated by Oak Ridge officials for industrial development, has raised concerns among environmentalists and people who use the city’s greenways.
The guest speaker at Lunch with the League on Tuesday, January 7, will be Virginia Dale. Dale is a corporate fellow emeritus with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where she worked in the Environmental Sciences Division. She is currently a researcher in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Tennessee, a press release said. Dale has been the author of 11 books and more than 250 published articles.
Her presentation on Tuesday will focus on the city’s recent action to seek authorization from the U.S. Department of Energy to build an electric transmission line along the DOE patrol road on the boundary between the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Easement and the Horizon Center industrial park, or by cutting through other “natural areas,” the press release said. These “natural areas” are identified in mitigation conditions required for a federal finding of no significant impact, which allowed the subsequent development of the Horizon Center, the press release said.
“DOE chose to accept the mitigation conditions for the FONSI (finding of no significant impact) in order to avoid the requirement to prepare an environmental impact statement,” the press release said.
It said environmentalists and citizen and community groups think that the cleared corridor would destroy (1) wildlife habitat connectivity within the Horizon Center and (2) habitat connectivity between the riparian zone and forests of the Horizon Center and the upland forests of the Black Oak Ridge Conservation Easement. That habitat connectivity forms part of the natural resource value that DOE provided as compensation for natural resource damages assessed under federal law, the press release said.
Dale received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, master’s degree in mathematics with a minor in ecology at UT, and a doctorate in mathematical ecology from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, which is located at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
Lunch with the League is a public service program open to the community. Membership in the League of Women Voters is not required, and there is no cost o attend.
The presentation will begin at noon Tuesday. Lunches are provided by the Soup Kitchen and are available at 11:30 a.m. on a first-come basis for $10, or you may purchase soup for $5, or bring your own lunch. Coffee and tea are provided.