The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

View of Worthington Glacier a concern of critics

Public input period extended for power line move on Pass


The Dept. of Natural Resources has extended the deadline for public comments on the proposal by Copper Valley Electric Association to move one of its T-lines to a location near the Worthington Glacier.

The move came after a request was made by Valdez man Harold Blehm, a staunch opponent of the move.

“We have, at this point- probably 25 or 30 comments,” Henry Tashjian, resources specialist for DNR said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “They are all over the board.”

CVEA has petitioned DNR for a permit to move the T-line in question to the area across from Worthington Glacier on the Richardson Highway out of its current location in an avalanche zone. Critics of the project complain the view of the glacier will be spoiled and question why CVEA is declining to bury the line, among other concerns.

Source: CVEA

This rendering shows power poles to the left of the Richardson Highway-which do not currently exist. The proposal before DNR would place the transmission line further from the road to the left. The overall view faces south, as you head towards Valdez. It does not depict possible bright markings the FAA may require for safety as there is a nearby landing strip.

Anyone who wishes to comment to DNR regarding the permit must contact Tashjian at DNR. Email can be sent to: Physical address and fax is available on the DNR website. All comments must be received by DNR before midnight on Saturday, May 26.

The CVEA board had been looking at the troublesome line location for years, but were unable to act on moving the lines – formally known as the Solomon Gulch transmission line – because the lines were actually owned by the Four Dam Pool Power Agency (FDPPA), not CVEA.

The FDPPA was dissolved a few years ago and it turned over its Valdez assets to CVEA, including the lines in question.

It had been the policy of FDPPA to simply repair the lines when damaged. CVEAs board has decided to move them out of harm’s way instead. The costs to repair and replace damaged lines in the area since 1988 has ranged from $205,000 in 2009 to $1.5 million back in 1988.

Complete maps, graphs and renderings of the permit filing can be found online at the CVEA website.


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