Residents concerned about proposed power line project

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson Electric Power officials along with the state's Arizona Power Plant and Line Siting committee held a public meeting to discuss the installation of new power lines, on Monday.

The project was designed to power up the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine, that is proposed to be set in the scenic Santa Rita mountains.

Many residents in Vail, Green Valley, and Sahuarita expressed concerns about the power line project, saying it would be an "eye-sore" that would ruin their view.

The proposed high-voltage lines would be on steel mono-pole's that could be 140-199 feet high.

"Right now I can drive down Abrego road and see these beautiful mountains.  It's one of the reasons we moved here.  Take and power poles and plug it on the other side of the mountain," said Green Valley resident Jerry Pulliam.

Pulliam was also upset about the public comment session that was set to take place in Tucson.

"It doesn't make any sense to me.  They ought to have the hearing here.  It's something that doesn't really affect Tucson.  What about Vail, what about Sahuarita, what about Green Valley, don't we count?" questioned Pulliam.

TEP spokesman Joe Salkowski said they did not make the decision to hold the meeting in Tucson.  That was determined by the Arizona Power Plant and Line Siting committee.

Officials with the company did not respond to our request for an interview.

Officials are looking at several different routes for the 13-miles stretch of power lines.

"Well, it's not in really in anyone's backyard.  That hasn't been an issue in this particular project.  In this case, it's an area that's largely remote," said Salkowski.

The power lines would only be installed if the U.S. Forest service approves the Rosemont Copper mine project.  Rosemont Copper would pay for the lines.  If the project is not approved, the power lines will not be installed.

The public meeting to present the impact of this power line is expected to last for a few days, but Monday night was the only time the Arizona Power Plant and Line Siting committee had set for public comment on the matter, said Salkowski.

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