World-wide Battle Against Overhead Power Lines

RETA is entering its fourth year of educating the public, governments, regulators, industry and other businesses, yes and even electricity transmission companies, about the negative impacts of overhead high voltage power lines and the benefits of burying these lines. During this period, it’s been absolutely amazing to find out how many other organizations and communities around the world are conducting similar education campaigns. Check out our “Links to Other Websites” for some of these.

For example, one such organization in Chino Hills, California, known as Hope For The Hills, has been battling Southern California Edison and the California Public Utilities Commission to keep a 500 kilovolt line with towers up to 200 feet tall from being built right next to their homes. Chino Hills City has even sued Southern California Edison in an attempt to stop this line from being built so close to homes. Residents are worried about cancer and other health risks from the line’s electromagnetic fields, property devaluation, and towers falling over in earthquakes or wind storms. This is just one of hundreds of communities that has organized itself to protect residents’ health, safety, assets and overall quality of life.

With as much concern being expressed, almost universally, about the negative impacts of overhead lines on health, safety, the environment, property values and aesthetics, you would think the power generation and transmission industry would be doing all it could to address these concerns. Why aren’t more companies looking more seriously at generating power closer to where the power is needed, so fewer long transmission lines are required? Why aren’t more companies more seriously considering improved transmission technologies, such as burying new lines whenever they are built close to homes, schools, daycares, hospitals and environmentally sensitive areas? Why aren’t transmission companies compensating homeowners and businesses that are disadvantaged  by having high voltage lines built right next to them (disadvantaged financially and in terms of health)? Why would transmission companies rather spend millions of dollars fighting communities in order to continue building more overhead high voltage lines, rather than using safer technologies or routing choices? Spending a bit more money to address people’s concerns about overhead lines would in many cases cost far less than fighting communities over protracted periods of time.

As communities around the world become more organized, as they share more and more research and other information, and as safer transmission technologies are improved and drop in price, power transmission companies can no longer ignore the facts and try to pull the wool over our eyes. Yes, we all want and need electricity, but there are safer ways of getting it to our communities, our homes and our businesses. It’s time the electricity transmission industry joined the 21st century.

~ by RETA on September 19, 2011.

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