Arizona Public Service (APS) has submitted a proposal to the US Forest Service to route an above-ground 69kV electric power line between the  Village of Oak Creek and McGuireville, most of it on Forest Service land. APS states that this is needed in order to maintain reliable service. 

The Forest Service has completed its environmental assessment of three alternatives: 1) installing 200-280 above-ground 65′ steel monopoles, 2) burying the line underground and 3) the “no action” alternative of not installing a new power line. Both the Forest Service and APS dismiss the “Battery Storage Option”.

The Forest Service draft environmental assessment along with other supporting information can be found online at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=56977

The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council (BPRCC) has submitted an extensively researched and documented comment letter to the Forest Service strongly objecting to Alternative 1, installing this power line above-ground. BPRCC prefers burying the power line. They also identify an additional alternative, installing a solar-powered community micro-grid. You can read their entire letter by CLICKING HERE

Keep Sedona Beautiful supports the position taken by BPRCC. If placed above ground, 13.7 miles of power line poles would run along the route that is shown in the image at the bottom of this post.

While either alternative for installing a new power line would have significant consequences, we believe that Alternative 2, to bury the line is the least objectionable. 

However, we agree with BPRCC that a new comprehensive study of the micro-grid alternative should be fully evaluated. Battery technology is improving at an extraordinary pace. Reliable renewable energy is certain to become the key to supplying our future energy needs, particularly in the American Southwest. We recommend that APS not be given approval to proceed until the micro-grid alternative is reevaluated.

We urge our members to review the BPRCC comment letter and to then comment directly to the Forest Service. You can email your comments to the Coconino National Forest’s Flagstaff office at comments-southwestern-coconino@usda.gov or send a letter to their office at 1824 S. Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ  86001 before January 14, 2022.

click to see a PDF that you can zoom in on