Sunrise Powerlink Issues
For the first time in state history, issues concerning wildland fires and transmission lines were included in the Environmental Impact Report. Extensive research was done and hours of testimony were given during the hearings. The conclusions of the EIR are unmistakable - the construction and presence of the Sunrise Powerlink will increase the probability of a wildland fire, and is unmitigatable. Despite this, the California Public Utilities Commission approved the line, thereby placing all the communities and thousands of residents in a position of further danger of loss of life and property.
The Final EIR is unequivocal in it’s findings that the project will increase the probability of a wildfire, due to several factors, including construction of the line, operation of the line, and also the negative impact on firefighting efforts, particularly during Santa Ana wind events. The entire EIR is available online here.
In her testimony to the CPUC, Supervisor Diane Jacob, a vocal opponent of the Sunrise Powerlink, stated:
“It is my very strong belief that what SDG&E is asking you to approve is the equivalent of walking into our fire prone backcountry during Santa Ana wind conditions, striking a match and throwing it on the ground. SDG&E wants you to gamble with human life. Please don’t.”
Loss of Plant and Animal Habitat
The Sunrise Powerlink will impact miles of pristine backcountry land, including 19 miles of Cleveland National Forest, 43 miles of Bureau of Land Management land, and other state, county and local parks and private property that has not ever been developed.
The animal and insect species that will suffer potential loss of habitat includes:
More information coming soon about Loss of Habitat due to the SRPL, including adverse effects on Golden Eagles.
Although the effect of transmission lines on property values is disputed (mostly by utility companies) some studies and reports have shown that they are adversely affected. Specifically, the Journal of Real Estate:
“Power lines can affect residential property value to varying degrees under certain circumstances…the market value of these properties is, on average, 10.01% lower than the market value for comparable properties not subject to the influence of high voltage power lines.”-Source: Delaney and Timmons. 1992. Journal of Real Estate Research, Issue 3, Pages 315-330
and from the Wall Street Journal:
“David Bolton, a Houston appraiser, did a study several months ago showing that 100 properties bordering a transmission line sold for 13% to 30% less than 100 comparable properties away from the line, but in the same neighborhood.” - -Source: Freedman, Alix M. Wall Street Journal. Dec 8, 1993
There is an ongoing dispute about the effects of EMF (Electromagnetic Frequency) from powerlines on the health of people. According to the EIR for the Sunrise Powerlink, there is no adverse effect and so no mitigation is necessary. A closer look at the study they chose to use for their report shows that it only looked at 69kV powerlines. The Sunrise Powerlink will be high-voltage 230kV and 500kV powerlines.
A government document prepared by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences had the following conclusions:
There is some evidence from epidemiology studies that exposure to power-frequency EMF is associated with an increased risk for childhood leukemia.
Although scientists are still debating whether EMF is a hazard to health, the NIEHS recommends continued education on ways of reducing exposures.