Overhead Power Lines – More Negative than Positive

Power Line Project

As Yavapai County Supervisor for District 3, I offer an urge you to consider the following perspectives and recommendations regarding the draft environmental assessment for APS Oak Creek to McGuireville 69 KV Power Line Project.

I sought and was elected to public office as District 3 supervisor on a platform that emphasized protecting our region’s environment, including maintaining open space and scenic vistas. The installation of miles of potentially unneeded overhead power lines in one of Arizona’s and the nation’s most scenic areas does not meet the standard. In addition, doing so would introduce an extreme urban element into rural settings, one a majority of local citizens do not want to see. Once such a significant installation is made, it will impair the surrounding scenic vistas for decades.

Need, Interests and Values

While I clearly recognize the need to project and provide more reliable electric service to McGuireville citizens and businesses, I must consider the larger long-term interests and values of all citizens living in the county, Verde Valley and especially District 3. Among those interests and values is avoiding the possible negative effect on property value and tourism miles of new overhead lines would produce.

In order to satisfactorily address the issue, I recommend the following courses of action be fully explored:

  1. Burying the power lines using the least impactful methods available. However, long term and significant damage to the ground surface, plant and animal life will likely result regardless of the method. Also, as it is well known, the risk of wildfires due to overhead power line malfunction is a factor that must be seriously considered, especially given the greater wildlife risk that exists in the sighted areas than in many other Arizona communities.
  2. Constructing a micro grid system or using backup battery storage, or a combination of both.
  3. Determining if the USFS can execute a nondisclosure agreement with interested and appropriate parties as part of the environmental assessment process so they may review and provide feedback on what APS considers proprietary power data in the affected communities. Part of such an action would also include, of course require compliance with relevant Forest Service rules. This course of action would better serve the US by having selected. Third parties objectively review the need for new power lines under its planning rules for forest specific plan amenities. Finally, this option would either help. Corporate APS’s assessment of costs of a microgrid or battery storage system or indicate which parentheses or a combination of the two and parentheses might be most cost effective in the long term.

Moving Forward

In summary, I have and will continue to vigorously support long term protection of the region’s natural environment. And the values of the majority of its citizens who embrace their desire to maintain scenic values and environmental integrity.

In this spirit, I look forward to an enhanced alternative to providing more reliable electric power service to the citizens and businesses in the village of Oak Creek to McGuireville communities most impacted by the line project.

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