About Air and Water

Monday, July 16, 2007

Federal Law may put power lines inside parks

By KIMBERLY HEFLING - Associated Press - Monday, July 16, 2007
GETTYSBURG, Pa. - Apple trees have been planted, wood fences restored and power lines buried in recent years to transform the Civil War battlefield in Gettysburg to the way it looked when Union and Confederate forces clashed on farmers' fields in 1863.

But preservationists now worry that the national military park in Pennsylvania's picturesque fruit belt soon may be in the shadow of high-powered transmission lines.

It is not just Gettysburg that worries them as a result of a 2005 law that gave federal regulators new authority over where power lines are built. They fear the law could place hundreds of national and state parks and other protected sites in the Northeast and Southwest in or near the path of massive power lines.

"They're not little modest poles that you wouldn't notice," said Joy Oakes, senior regional director at the National Parks Conservation Association.

The law was enacted in response to power companies' complaints that local and state authorities, which historically have decided where power lines go, were reluctant to approve them - often because of residents' opposition. The stalemate, according to the companies, contributed to blackouts such as the one in 2003 that swept from Ohio to New York City.

Using the law, the Energy Department this year proposed making two large swaths of land in the Northeast and Southwest "national interest" corridors. If the corridors are approved by Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, federal regulators can order power lines built in them, regardless of state and local opposition.

The Wilderness Society estimates that millions of acres of wildlife refuges, cemeteries, national seashores, protected wilderness, national parks and other types of protected land are within the proposed corridors.

Environmental activists contend the corridors were drawn broadly to make it difficult to tell where the power lines would go. They say the department should have done a thorough environmental analysis and declared protected areas off limits before proposing them.

The department is proposing an "overbroad solution" that "bypasses important legal and procedural safeguards," said Nada Culver, the Wilderness Society's senior counsel.

If a protected area is in the planned path of a power line, she said, the agency with jurisdiction could be forced or pressured into allowing the line to be constructed. But there is no guarantee a utility company could put lines in such an area.

The Energy Department says it would require a full environmental and cultural review before federal regulators could order a line built and alternatives would have to be considered.
Read more

No comments:

Post a Comment

Travel to other worlds ... UTA Planetarium

Immersive full-dome 3-D Digital planetarium show narrated by Ewan McGregor (Obi wan Kepobi from Star Wars) - Astronaut takes you exporing the worlds of inner and outer space. The movie is projected all around you. You recline in specially constructed chairs which enables you to comfortably view the immersive full-dome planetarium show. Astronaut! (produced from the National Space Centre in England) goes beyond the stereotypical space movie. Experience a rocket launch from inside the body of the astronaut. Float around the international Space Station moving thorugh the microscopic regions of the human body! Discover the beauty and perils as "Chad", the test astronaut experiences everything thrown at him.




Summer Schedule (June 2-August 26):

Astronaut!


shows at the UTA Planetarium.


Wed. through Saturdays at 11 a.m.
and Thursday at 7:00 p.m.




Cosmic CSI

shows at the UTA Planetarium 3-D Digital Dome.


Wed. through Saturdays at 2 p.m.




Rock Hall of Fame 1 (The Original)


shows at the UTA Planetarium.


Thursday at 8:00 p.m.




Read more (Warning their flat dull website doesn't give much of a glimmer of the multi-dimensional experience you'll have once you enter the dome of the UTA Planetarium!)


Admission: Adults: $5.00


Seniors, Students, Children: $4.00


UTA Faculty, Staff & Alumni (with ID): $3.00


UTA Studens (with ID): $2.00


Groups of 10 or more with reservation: $3.00


Call 817 272-1183 or e-mail planetarium@uta.edu