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Kamas Residents Worried About Utah Power Upgrades

Kamas Residents Worried About Utah Power Upgrades

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Shelley Osterloh ReportingUtah Power wants to upgrade a stretch of power lines between Kamas and Oakley. But some residents there are upset about the plan.

Residents are worried construction will damage property and the power lines will be an eyesore and health- risk.

Utah Power says the five mile stretch of power lines was built more than 80 years ago and is unreliable and inadequate. The company plans to rebuild the line with much larger 70 foot poles that carry high voltage transmission lines between the Kamas and Oakley substations, and below that, distribution lines for customers. But to do it requires a much larger easement -- in this case, right up to Beverly Bemis’ porch.

Beverly Bemis, Kamas Resident: "They want easements that would take away my front yard to do what ever they wanted to do with my yard."

The route, which goes right up Main Street, would also mean the removal of about a hundred mature trees. Residents are also concerned about the health risks of living under an electromagnetic field, or EMF.

David Green, Kamas Resident: "In addition to losing our hundred year old tree and all of the landscaping, there is the concern of the EMF issue, health concerns. The drop in property value is a big concern."

The Kamas Mayor has asked Utah Power to put the line underground, but the company says that's far too expensive and perhaps more disruptive to property owners. The Mayor hopes they'll consider other routes.

Lewis Marchant, Kamas Mayor: "Sure anybody is going to have an impact, but there's got to be a better place to put it than right down our Main Street."

Utah Power officials were unavailable for an on camera interview, but told ksl on the phone, they have followed the required the public process to get approval for the project. Still, they say they are willing to listen to residents concerns, and do what they can to mitigate negative impact.

Utah Power hopes to have a public meeting next week to discuss concerns with residents in Kamas and Oakley.

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