State regulators have given Duke Energy the go-ahead to to build a transmission link in western North Carolina, ending a cultural disagreement between the Charlotte power company and the Eastern Band of Cherokees over the proposed location the electrical equipment.
Duke had originally proposed building the 100-foot-tall transmission towers and electrical relay station within view of a Cherokee holy site that is held by legend as the birthplace of the Cherokee nation. The tribe regarded Duke's proposal as a desecration.
The company has since agreed to build the $3.7 million project on an alternate site in Swain County, several miles west of Kituwah.
Approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission was the last obstacle Duke needed to clear in order to proceed with the project.
The commission approved the project yesterday afternoon, noting that Swain County officials and Citizens to Protect Kituwah Valley don't object to the alternate site.
Duke has obtained all other federal and state licenses, permits and exemptions required for construction.