'Power' struggle underway in Merced

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Several residents are fighting to stop power transmission lines from going up near their homes in Merced. (KFSN)

Several residents are fighting the Merced Irrigation District to stop power transmission lines from going up near their homes in Merced.

During Tuesday's MID board meeting, more than half a dozen people spoke out against a proposal to add about 13 miles of transmission lines.

Mike Jensen with the Merced Irrigation District said, "It's intended to first and foremost to benefit our system we already have and provide enhanced reliability, but also Merced's new development is planned for the southeast corner of the city so this is going to provide capacity for economic development in that area as well."

The 90 foot tall poles would start near Highway 99 and Franklin Road and head south before turning east near Rice Road -- and then north to a new substation on Mission Avenue.

One resident said, "The last thing I want to do is look out my window and see the skyline dotted with transmission poles."

Residents raised concerns about everything from the impact on views to property values, to their health. Allyne Beutel says she and her neighbors on Wardrobe Avenue are desperate for a different solution.

Beutel explained, "Let's figure something out, power is power, great, just not in my backyard."

Board members could not comment during this meeting because the proposal was not on the agenda, but they've also heard from customers during two previous public hearings.

Jensen added, "We understand there are concerns, and to this point we've done everything possible to minimize what we can and we will be looking at those comments and in the final environmental impact report we will be addressing those comments."

MID says the next step is to finish the final environmental impact report, which will help determine if the project moves forward.

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politicspoliticsmerced countydevelopmentMerced
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