Northern Utah residents on Wednesday told state lawmakers that they strongly oppose a proposed Rocky Mountain Power high-voltage transmission corridor that would run through Box Elder County to Idaho.
The residents said the utility has done little to inform people about its plan for the $4.1 billion Populus to Ben Lomond project that the group of residents said would cut through their property and pose a potential health hazard to their families.
"Rocky Mountain Power will state that it's safe, but you can look on the Internet and find where it links the extremely low frequency lines to leukemia," said Willard resident Steve Coxey. "They're still going to stick it in my backyard."
Their residents made their comments to the Legislature's Public utilities and Technology Interim Committee. Coxey said that in a previous legislative meeting, Rocky Mountain Power President Richard Walje said that he chose not to buy a home near a location with power lines similar to the ones proposed in the Ben Lomond project.
"He stated that just as plain as day," Coxey said. "It's right in the minutes anybody can listen to that."
Rocky Mountain Power declined to send representatives to the meeting on Wednesday, said the legislative committee's co-chairman, Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City.
The construction of the project was scheduled to begin in June 2008, with completion in June 2010.
According to the utility's Web site, Rocky Mountain Power plans to construct a new double-circuit 345 kilovolt transmission line from the Populus substation to be built near Downey, Idaho, to the existing Ben Lomond substation in Box Elder County a distance of about 90 miles. The Ben Lomond substation would also be expanded on company-owned property to accommodate the new line.
Richard Nicholas of Tremonton said the route the utility has proposed would affect eight communities and negatively impact numerous businesses.
"We have to put it where the least amount of people are affected," he said.
Residents in his and the surrounding communities of the proposed route recommend that the utility develop the project along the already existing route to reduce any additional impact the new lines and equipment might have, he said.The legislators said they could not help the residents and recommended that the residents meet with their local civic leaders and Rocky Mountain Power to resolve their differences.
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