Emotions ran high in Battle Ground at a community meeting about placement of a new electrical transmission line the Bonneville Power Administration wants to build in Cowlitz and Clark Counties.
The message at last week’s meeting was clear and was even delivered in a song: Go away, BPA.
At issue is a proposed 70-mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line that would travel from Castle Rock in Washington to Troutdale in Oregon. Towers would stretch 15 stories high.
The BPA has proposed four different alternative routes, a western line through populated areas along Interstate 5, and three central and eastern routes in the countryside.
The western line would cost the least – $317 million – but also come within 500 feet of more than 3,000 homes, three schools, and two daycare facilities.
Opponents of the western route fear a drop in property values, along with increased health risks posed by electric and magnetic radiation, or EMF.
Terry Constance of the organization Another Way BPA says he has proposed a new route, called the “grey line,” that would go even farther east and avoid people altogether, but the BPA has excluded it as an option.
But rural property owners say they have rights, too, and stand to lose up to half of their property, depending on the parcel. In one option, the BPA would have to purchase up to 58 miles of private, rural property boosting the cost between $363 and $407 million.
Based on their property’s location, city or countryside, homeowners are divided on what they recommend the BPA choose.
Some opponents wrote a song about it. In the video above, children sing a warning that they stand watch on the BPA’s pending decision.
Bonneville project manager Mark Korness said the BPA is hoping to complete a draft environmental statement by spring 2012.