JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – Johns Island residents are concerned about proposed transmission lines that Santee Cooper plans to run through nearby marshland.

Just across the marsh near the Simmons Creek subdivision is where the utility company is expected to install the power poles.

“I honestly have never seen so many birds and wildlife, even dolphins, cutting through here,” said Rodger Willis who lives on Johns Island. “I’ve been very lucky to be out there.”

But he is worried about how 5.17 miles of transmission lines to supply power to Kiawah and Seabrook Island built through the marsh will impact him and the wildlife.

“Santee Cooper is proposing a powerline back up to the existing infrastructure, and right now, the proposed path comes right through the marsh here. They’re putting an 85-foot steel pole right off this island and cut through the tree line,” he said.

To give you a rough idea of the height, a pine tree that stands near the proposed site is around 40-feet. The utility pole would be around twice that high.

Several people in other neighborhoods are also concerned. The lines would run from a location near Rushland Landing Road all the way to near Dogpatch Lane.

Willis said he understands the route has changed during the process.

“There was a better route that was shorter that goes along existing poles, that was an option; but they bounced over to running it along the marsh for close to six miles,” he said. “It seems like an unnecessary waste of gorgeous marshland and has a negative effect.”

He went on to say, “We’re trying to work with them. We said we would like them to bury it.  there’s some talk about the increase cost for that. We think it’s well worth it.”

State Senator Sandy Senn has been working with residents on this issue. Senn said she was told the cost estimate to bury the lines is close to $30 million.

On May 7th of this year, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control wrote a letter to say a permit had been issued for the project.

The letter says it will be their final decision unless a written request for final review, plus a $100 fee, is received by the department within 15 days.