Board backs delay of power line project: Santa Rosa Valley residents want state panel to reconsider plan
Oct 29, 2008 (Ventura County Star - McClatchy-Tribune Business News via COMTEX) --
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors has lined up behind Santa Rosa Valley residents who want state officials to take a closer look at a proposed power line that would run from Moorpark to Newbury Park.
The board voted unanimously during a special meeting Tuesday night in Moorpark to send a letter to the state Public Utilities Commission, asking the PUC to demand a full environmental review of the proposed power line. It would be a nine-mile, 66-kilovolt transmission line, built about 40 feet away from an existing, larger power line.
The PUC has the sole authority to approve or deny the proposal, and it was set to proceed without a full environmental review. Construction would have begun Nov. 17 under Southern California Edison's original plan.
However, on Tuesday the PUC told Edison it would delay its approval until at least the end of November, Edison Regulatory Affairs Manager Christine McLeod told the Board of Supervisors. Until then, the PUC will consider the objections raised by Santa Rosa Valley residents and in a letter from the county drafted by Supervisor Linda Parks, whose district includes Santa Rosa Valley.
"I'm glad to hear they have extended the time," Parks said. "There are other alternatives that could be looked at here including undergrounding the lines, co-locating them with the existing lines, or locating them farther away from people's homes."
Edison first posted official notices of the project in early October, just a few weeks before the PUC's public comment period ended. Santa Rosa Valley residents who live near the proposed line said that was not nearly enough time to analyze the project and file any potential objections, and the supervisors agreed.
"Edison has been a great partner in the community, and you dropped the ball on this one," Supervisor Kathy Long said. "This is a significant project, and you need to have communication -- not just notification, but communication -- with the supervisors and the community."
Edison officials said the project does not present any environmental risks. Electromagnetic radiation could actually be lower than current levels because the radiation from the current lines would cancel out that of the new lines, they said.
If the project is approved, it will take about two years to build, Edison representatives said.
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