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Rancher Tells Power Company To Keep Out
Kansas rancher Don McGuiness, of Garrett, built a "fort" as a wall of defense against the construction of a power line across the ranch. It worked!
In what could become a far reaching decision, District Court Judge James Smith granted an injunction against the Kansas City Power and Light Company in its effort to construct a high voltage power line across the OK Ranch in Anderson County, northeast of Garnett.
Ranch owner McGinnis had asked for a permanent injunction against the construction and the court ruled in his favor.
Judge Smith ruled a 1979 law said in effect that a siting permit must be obtained before eminent domain condemnation can be secured unless the company is in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NPA).
The "fort" which McGinnis and his hired hands built gave the impression they were prepared to forcibly defend against the onslaught of the power company's trucks and equipment.
"It will be after my funeral that they build that power line through here,"
McGinnis has maintained. "I won't sell a strip 250 feet wide across my land to anybody."
McGinnis was pleased with the court's decision but knows that the fight is not over.
"It's going to hurt them to leave this thing on the books," he said.
"As I see it, if this decision stands, then everybody they've condemned since 1979 can come back and sue for damages."
McGinnis says he is ready to do battle in court again if an appeal comes up.
"We're going to beat them again, cause I'm going to get the best lawyers and we're going after them with great guns."
"He's convinced he's right," says his lawyer Orville Cole, "and he doesn't want his farm cluttered up with one of those high voltage lines.
"He just has enough money and enough brass that he's going to fight them all the way."
KCP&L spokesman Turner White said the company will appeal the decision to the courts, but would give no further comment.
(Reprinted with permission from Grass and Grain, Manhattan, Kan.)

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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1