Comments Needed on Powerline Issue

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The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and other Cmunicipalities through their organization TANC (Transmission Agency of Northern California) are proposing new powerlines between the Bay Area and the Sacramento region and northeastern California and Nevada.  Information about TANC is available on its website, www.tanc.org.  

Proposed powerline alignments include the Cosumnes River Preserve, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, and the Capay Valley. 

It is totally outrageous.

SMUD and TANC are not even considering, much less analyzing, locating these proposed new powerlines along existing powerline corridors.  Across the country this has consistently been shown to be the preferred environmental alternative.

Tuleyome supports renewable energy generation.  However, even environmentally positive ideas can have negative consequences, and Tuleyome does not support the proposed transmission line alignments because they clearly have negative environmental consequences and significant effects on places that people value for environmental reasons.  A fair and open public process and a coordinated approach that considers other power generation and transmission proposals are needed to both minimize environmental impacts and meet our renewable energy needs.

SMUD and TANC have initiated a public scoping process on the proposals and comments are due April 30.  Please Act Now. 

Comment today.  There are several key issues:

1.  Request an extended public comment period and additional public scoping meetings:  The process used to publish the Public Notice and inform the public about this project meets legal noticing requirements, but is patently not adequate for a project with the potential impacts that this one has. 
Too few public meetings about the project, too few meeting locations, and inadequate opportunity for public engagement are also problems with this proposal.  Many of our neighbors directly affected by these proposed powerline alignments were not notified and while there have been a few public scoping meetings, not one was held in Yolo County where three proposed powerline alignments affect the county’s environment.

2.  Tell your personal story:  How will this affect you and our local environment?

3.  Tell TANC to analyze an alternative to site new powerlines along existing powerline corridors:  This co-location alternate has consistently been shown to be the environmentally preferred alternative in other parts of the country.  New powerlines cause ecological fragmentation in environmentally sensitive areas that extends far beyond the alignments themselves, represent sources of invasive species, and invariably lead to additional impacts because of the need to maintain the alignments free of vegetation.

4.  Tell TANC to coordinate their actions with the California Energy Commission RETI process:  We need to develop renewable energy generation and transmission, but this is not the Wild West.  RETI is working to coordinate renewable energy development to minimize and mitigate environmental impacts.  The EIS/EIR process must analyze how this project relates to all other proposed generation and transmission projects in northern California.  The CEQA/NEPA process requires analysis of related projects.  It is altogether possible that the proposed TANC project will not even be needed because other transmission alternatives included in the RETI process provide the capacity California needs.  This fragmented approach is just wrong. 

Submit comments to:

Mail to:    Mr. David Young
NEPA Document Manager
Western Area Power Administration
Sierra Nevada Region
114 Parkshore Drive
Folsom, CA  95630
Email:     TTPEIS@wapa.gov
Fax:         (916) 353-4772

Additional information can be found at www.tanc.org, or call 916-353-4777

Conclusion:

We need new renewable energy projects, including necessary powerline transmission capacity.  But, let’s have a fair and open public process, with adequate opportunity for affected citizens to participate, and let’s not put powerlines where they don’t make sense.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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One thought on “Comments Needed on Powerline Issue”

  1. martin

    There is an on-going study of these issues. Renewable Energy can be generated by Solar, Wind, Hydro, Bio-Mass, etc. (Dare I include nuclear?) The wind and hydro options require transmission lines to the generation sites. While it takes 1 1/2 to 2 years to license a renewable power plant, it takes over 7 years to license the necessary transmission lines. There are Distributed Resource options but they have problems because they have to be connected to the State Transmission Grid. The State Transmission Grid is operated by the California Independent System Operator (CALISO) and is the final word in whether an electric generator can be connected to the grid. They haven’t addressed the issues yet, so the planning effort started in February 2008 has been postponed. Instead the individual utility companies are proposing their own investigation.

    I have been participating in all these proceedings and believe that the individual utility companies are the only reliable resource of information.

    The alternative is to have a lot of individual developers connect their resources to the State Transimission Grid, but as explained above, no one knows what would happen. Pilot projects are being proposed right now. None have yet been licensed. I work on all those proceedings.

    There is pending legislation addressing these issues. Small renewable energy companies have not been represented so all the legislation is being drafted to represent the best interests of the large companies, renewable energy power plant companies as well as the regulated utilities.

    I have been working with small energy developers to address these issues but we do not have enough members at the moment. If you know of anyone who is an independent renewable energy developer, tell them to contact me at martinhomec@yahoo.com

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