- Associated Press - Sunday, November 2, 2014

LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) - Larimer County residents are worried about a power line project they said could disrupt their lives and the environment after the Western Area Power Administration announced plans to replace a 32-mile power transmission line from Estes Park to the Flatiron Power Plant west of Loveland.

Currently, Western Area Power Administration has two existing lines on wooden poles that stretch from Estes Park to Flatiron Reservoir. The power agency plans to replace the 60-year-old poles with new, taller steel poles to improve service and access to the power lines in the event of an emergency.

A draft environmental impact statement lays out several different options for the new lines.

One option would run through ranchland that is on the other side of Pinewood Reservoir, where the existing wooden poles currently sit.

There is already a 100-foot easement around those poles, and most of the current property owners bought the land with the lines and easements already in place.

Another option is to expand the rights of way onto new properties.

Jeff Barina said if the lines are built in rugged, dry terrain under one of the proposed routes, the possibility of winds knocking trees onto power lines and causing a deadly fire is very real, the Loveland Reporter-Herald (http://tinyurl.com/nzac4qt ) reported Saturday. A similar situation happened in New Mexico in 2011, he said.

“Why would we perpetuate the same disaster here in Colorado?” he asked.

Others said the potential impact on wetlands and historic sites needs to be considered.

With so much still to be decided, Loveland resident Phil Hunger suggested a whole new route that could combine plans and connect somewhere in the middle.

Larimer County commissioners plan to take up the issue on Monday.

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Information from: Loveland Daily Reporter-Herald, http://www.reporterherald.com/

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