Black Hills transmission line a worry for Pueblo West residents
- May 19, 2020 8:37 am GMT
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May 18--In light of Pueblo voters' defeat of a city takeover of the Black Hills Energy electric franchise May 5, Pueblo West residents are renewing attention on the utility company's proposed transmission line which they fear will degrade property values here.
The Black Hills Energy proposed Reliability Upgrade includes six proposed routes.
In a comment letter read to the Metro District Board during its May 12 meeting, Pueblo West resident James Lembeck outlined a number of concerns he and his neighbors have about the proposal. Among concerns he listed was, "even through the Black Hills proposal states that it will benefit the residents, it is being constructed to get power to Canon City and the surrounding area west of Pueblo West. There isn't any mention now or at any time in the future how this line will benefit the residents," in Pueblo West.
Lembeck also said, "The people here are very concerned about their property values and their health and how all of these (transmission line) costs are going to be passed along."
He said he was under the impression a U.S. 50 route for the transmission line was scrapped because of concern for black-footed ferrets that live in that area.
"Residents here in the proposed Pueblo West route have burrowing owls all over that are also a protected species," Lembeck said in his letter.
At a February meeting, Pueblo West resident Mel Manrose also asked the metro district board to consider, "making a little noise" and letting the Pueblo County Commission know there is opposition to the proposal.
"We already have a whole bunch of trnasmission lines here and I don't think that does much for us as a community," Manrose said.
Metro Board Member Matt Smith told Manrose the board has sent a letter to Pueblo County informing the commission the board does not support the application.
"We're continuing our outreach to landowners along the proposed Reliability Upgrade route. By working cooperatively with landowners, we've been able to secure easements for a substantial portion of the route," said Julie Rodriguez, community affairs manager for Black Hills Energy.
"While our landowner dialogue continues, we're looking forward to the July 9th Pueblo County Commissioners meeting, where our 1041 permit application will be considered," she said.
Currently, Black Hills Energy serves 6,446 customers in Pueblo West. By comparison, Pueblo West's other electric provider, San Isabel, serves about 8,000 meters.
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