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Residents tell council they're worried about power line plans

NorthWestern Energy may have the juice, but the people have the power. That was the overwhelming message Wednesday evening when area residents packed council chambers to tell commissioners they oppose the utility company's plans for a major transmission line through southwestern Montana. The crowd spilled into the hallway where another roughly 30 people stood and listened as residents voiced their concerns about the 500-kilovolt power line ruining the visual aesthetics of their rural property.

NorthWestern Energy may have the juice, but the people have the power.

That was the overwhelming message Wednesday evening when area residents packed council chambers to tell commissioners they oppose the utility company's plans for a major transmission line through southwestern Montana.

The crowd spilled into the hallway where another roughly 30 people stood and listened as residents voiced their concerns about the 500-kilovolt power line ruining the visual aesthetics of their rural property.

Residents raised health concerns during the presentation and also said the power line would slash property values.

No amount of monetary compensation would replace the value that people like rancher Marie Garrison said she and her husband, Tim, have in their land and rural lifestyle.

The couple plan to eventually pass on their 4,500-acre ranch at Feeley to their two children, the sixth generation of Garrison ranchers, and say the power line would disrupt those dreams.

"Every generation will hurt from this," said Marie Garrison, who described the family as asset rich and cash poor.

John Pullman of the Jefferson Valley said the idea of the high-powered line "strikes sheer terror" in... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

NorthWestern Energy may have the juice, but the people have the power.

That was the overwhelming message Wednesday evening when area residents packed council chambers to tell commissioners they oppose the utility company's plans for a major transmission line through southwestern Montana.

The crowd spilled into the hallway where another roughly 30 people stood and listened as residents voiced their concerns about the 500-kilovolt power line ruining the visual aesthetics of their rural property.

Residents raised health concerns during the presentation and also said the power line would slash property values.

No amount of monetary compensation would replace the value that people like rancher Marie Garrison said she and her husband, Tim, have in their land and rural lifestyle.

The couple plan to eventually pass on their 4,500-acre ranch at Feeley to their two children, the sixth generation of Garrison ranchers, and say the power line would disrupt those dreams.

"Every generation will hurt from this," said Marie Garrison, who described the family as asset rich and cash poor.

John Pullman of the Jefferson Valley said the idea of the high-powered line "strikes sheer terror" in parents.

He also criticized a proposal to place the line just south of the Butte airport, while others said the power company hasn't done enough to inform area residents.

"Right now I think everybody has the gut feeling that it's all about politics and money," Pullman said.

Tom Ring of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said many of the audience's concerns are being looked into as environmental impacts for the project are considered.

He agreed to meet publicly again with residents, possibly next week, and provide maps of the proposed routes for the roughly 400-mile-long power line. Several routes are proposed in the Butte area.

A date and location for the meeting will be announced.

For a map and more information about the project, visit www.msti500kv.com.


Source: http://www.mtstandard.com/a...

MAR 26 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19600-residents-tell-council-they-re-worried-about-power-line-plans
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