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EMF Studies

18 November 2015

Missouri: Columbia City Council Decides to Reopen High-Voltage Electric Line Discussions

(Credit File photo KBIA)
Resident Kent Hendrix voiced one of the common concerns, which has to do with possible health effects of the electromagnetic fields from the line.  “Where this proposed line is going to go is less than 75 feet from where my 8-year-old son sleeps every night,” Hendrix said. “If there is any chance at all that this causes childhood leukemia, it’s not worth it to me. He has no way to escape these power lines.”

Columbia City Council Decides to Reopen High-Voltage Electric Line Discussions
by Emerald O'Brien, kbia.org, 
17 November 2015

Twelve Columbia residents spoke to city council members Monday night in opposition to new high-voltage power lines to be built on the south side of Columbia. This opposition followed a report by city staff outlining the details and progress of the project. According to the report, the additional lines are needed to lighten the load on existing power lines in that part of town. The plan has been in the works since 2007 and a route was chosen in 2013, but residents’ concerns prompted the council to reopen the issue for another public hearing.

Resident Detelina Marinova said at the meeting that she had a petition with 1200 signatures in opposition of the project. The planned route has three branches running along largely residential areas of Providence and Route K, Nifong and Scott Boulevard, and Grindstone. Construction is slated to start in 2017.

According to the city report, changing the route would cost the city about $5.6 million in losses.

Resident Kent Hendrix voiced one of the common concerns, which has to do with possible health effects of the electromagnetic fields from the line.

“Where this proposed line is going to go is less than 75 feet from where my 8-year-old son sleeps every night,” Hendrix said. “If there is any chance at all that this causes childhood leukemia, it’s not worth it to me. He has no way to escape these power lines.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no conclusive research that correlates exposure to electromagnetic fields with a higher risk of cancer.

Other issues included aesthetic objections, since the high voltage lines will likely require large metal poles. Residents also cited a lack of communication and clarity from the city on what was going to happen. They said there was confusion over the type of line (high-voltage with large metal poles versus lower-voltage and wooden poles), and that many people who would be affected, but who use an electric service other than the City of Columbia’s, were not directly informed. Some residents pushed for the council to reconsider other routes that would avoid residential areas and schools.

Tad Johnsen, director of Columbia Water and Light, responded to some of these concerns but said he would gather more information, both new and old, for residents so they can make final arguments to council.

Second Ward counci member Michael Trapp questioned the decision to reopen the debate.

“I fear that by opening a decision that we have already made that we’re going to further delay the process and we’re going to really get into the question of facing federal fines and not having a reliable electric system,” Trapp said.

Johnsen said the distribution capacity will likely reach critical levels around 2018, and electric systems must reach a certain level of reliability to comply with federal standards.

The council scheduled a final public hearing on the issue on Jan. 19, 2016.

“I think it is incumbent on us if we are going to perchance make an error that at least we offer the opportunity to make the most informed error that we could possibly make,” Third Ward council member Karl Skala said.

http://kbia.org/post/columbia-city-council-decides-reopen-high-voltage-electric-line-discussions

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