Meetings will air details of mega transmission line in Utah

Published: Sunday, Feb. 13 2011 10:00 p.m. MST

Still, Millard County Commissioner Daron Smith has some concerns.

Smith said he's met with officials involved in the line's planning stages and attended one of the public meetings last week to discuss an alternative to TransWest's preferred route.

The county has an established energy corridor that anticipates projects such as this.

"It has an allocated right of way where we like these projects to go because there are certain areas where we don't want them to go. Our zoning ordinances are set up that way," he said. "There is a benefit to the community because of the tax break they bring, but that is all they bring. The real benefit is to some other community, not us."

Under TransWest's scenario, the line would cross private property and impact agricultural land in the Leamington Canyon area. Smith said he would prefer the route sited north of there, near Lyndal.

Southern Utah Wilderness Allliance's Steve Bloch is also keeping an eye on the project, attending meetings and gathering information.

"I do not think there is any denying there is a need for more transmission to bring renewable energy to the market," said Bloch, the group's energy program director. "In terms of this project, the devil will be in the details."

Bloch attended a recent meeting where he said there a lot of questions he had, "and not all the questions were answered." He said the corridor for the transmission line — under the preferred route — appears to traverse through sensitive wilderness areas, something that is objectionable.

"On the broadest level, while we acknowledge the need and demand for more power and more transmission for renewable, it is just going to take close scrutiny of where the lines are on the map...It's unclear how some of the lines ended up on the maps."

Too, Bloch realizes how incongruent it would be for his organization to object strongly to the prospect of a high-voltage transmission line delivering power derived from renewable energy.

"It is not going to work for us, as SUWA, to say we are in favor of renewable power but insist you can't locate the transmission of it in Utah. The question will be where we do we put it."

Scoping hearings

All run from 4 to 7 p.m.

Monday — Richfield High School, 510 W. 100 South

Tuesday – Milford Elementary School, 450 S. 700 West

Wednesday – Cedar City High School, 703 W. 600 South

Thursday – St. George Branch, Washington County Library, 88 W. 100 South

Feb. 22 - Pine Valley Fire Station, 860 E. Main

Feb. 23 – Central Fire Station, 155 E. Center

Feb. 24 – Enterprise High School, 565 S. 200 East

e-mail: amyjoi@desnews.com

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