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Fire Risk Not Properly Considered For Sunrise Powerlink

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Aired 4/20/09

The proposed Sunrise Powerlink faces another legal challenge. Two San Diego residents are appealing a federal agency decision that approved the route for the electric transmission powerline.  KPBS Environment  Reporter Ed Joyce has details.

The Bureau of Land Management approved the 123-mile powerline route on the final day of the Bush Administration.

That approval gives San Diego Gas and Electric rights to build the line through BLM and U.S. Forest Service land.

The transmission lines would run along Interstate 8, while skirting the edges of the Cleveland National Forest.

Opponents say the project could increase fire risk in San Diego County's backcountry.

Conrad Hartsell and Katheryn Rhodes are appealing the BLM approval.

"BLM based a lot of their decisions that the Powerlink will be going through an area where there's a very low fire risk, where there's never been any fires,  Rhodes says. "And they're basing that on the data from a CalFire database, which is incomplete."

Rhodes says the BLM, SDG&E and the state Public Utilities Commission should reanalyze the fire data.

SDG&E's parent company says the BLM did a complete analysis.

The company expects the approval to be upheld.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.

 

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