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Monticello families against NextEra Energy powerline project

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 18:22:32-04

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Fla. — Earlier this year, we told you about the pushback from people in Leon County to keep power company NextEra from putting up power poles in their backyard.

NextEra Energy wants to connect utility stations from Columbia County to Jackson County.

Now people in Jefferson County are pushing back against the power company as well. But it's not just the power company that has those neighbors upset.

Nearly every home in the Thompson Valley neighborhood in Monticello has one of these signs in the front yard.

It reads "say no," just one way to make sure everyone knows that they're not happy about the next move for NextEra. But those neighbors are also upset with the county commission.

They say they feel blindsided by the plans to bring power poles straight through the historic community.

Neighbors are asking for a different route for the 176-mile transmission line project, one that doesn't require them to uproot their lives.

Last week, commissioners unanimously approved a proposed alternate route for the project.

The path runs the power line through woods and along smaller roads and away from homes on Waukeena Highway, Tram Road and Wacissa Springs.

Still, many of the neighbors feel like their county commissioner isn't doing enough to have their backs.

"To me, no amount of money is worth my home. Then if we have to move, I have to move my trailer home. That's about $20,000. My deep well is here, my fruit trees are here, all of my childhood memories are here," said Rosa Scott, who lives in Thompson Valley Neighborhood. "We're very hurt about this."

Scott says that the neighbors have been advised to hire lawyers. But she says that's easier said than done because most people in the area can't afford an attorney.

They do plan to have a community meeting July 29 at the St. James Church at 6:00 p.m.

We've reached out to NextEra and the County Commission for comment and are still waiting to hear from both parties.