CL&P’s Interstate Reliability Project:The Potential Effects on Mansfield
Interstate Reliability ProjectIn an effort to bring a more reliable Logo property of Connecticut Light & Power power source to the state of Connecticut, CL&P has proposed the Interstate Reliability Project.The project consists of 8 story, 345 kilovolt power lines running through Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, with most of the power benefitting southern CT, in Fairfield County. The power issue is a significant one, but Mansfield would like to see the lines placed along existing highways so as to not have any effect on local residents.
Photo by:RobbyHermanns Profit over People and Planet? Both Town Council members and citizens of Mansfield have expressed concerns regarding CL&P’s Interstate Reliability Project. One of the chief fears is that the 345kV transmission lines will have a large impact on local agriculture. Additionally, as a town which boasts a beautiful landscape of trees and countryside, the citizens also fear that the 8 story power lines would create an eyesore where an expansive canopy once flourished. Just as the above danger sign may appear awkward or unnatural surrounded by woods, so does the idea of power lines running through the front yard of some residents’ homes, according to “Citizens United,” a local group formed to oppose the project.
Photo by: Robby Hermanns Mansfield One of the Few Putting Up A Fight Though the project will run through a dozen or so towns in Connecticut, Mansfield and Brooklyn are the only two towns who have opposed the project, because they are the only two towns in which CL&P does not already own the necessary right-of-ways and must therefore go through resident’s properties. The Town Council has officially taken opposition to the project as it is currently routed. It has been described by Linda Painter as “a highway with no exits,” because the power lines only run through the northern part of the state; the southern part receives all of the power. Though the town will receive tax revenues from the lines, Painter said she was unsure how much they would amount to. Furthermore, if the lines do lower property values, depending on how much the revenues are could result in a net loss for the town.
Photo by: Robby Hermanns Undergrounding The Lines Should CL&P proceed with the project on the route it is currently planned for, the Town Council has proposed that the lines be placed underground in two areas. According to Town Council member, Bill Ryan, this may double the costs inthose specific areas, but would have less effect on local agriculture and the harvest season. Ryan said he was unsure of the effects undergrounding would have on the soil.
Effect on Farmers and Agriculture Along the current route, the lines will have a negative impact on agriculture without some further mitigations adhered to. The towers require 40’ of land to be cleared on either side in order to be implanted in the ground. This could have the effect of permanently damaging the soil, or at the very least disrupting the harvest. Town Council has proposed to CL&P several mitigations regarding ways to offset the negative impact local farmers may experience.Photo by:RobbyHermanns
The Hawthorne Lane MitigationResidents located on the cul-de-sac of Hawthorne Ln would lose a good portion of the trees on their property, andfear that the unsightliness of the towers running through their front yard would decrease their property value. In addition, the residents already have a number of power lines on their property. (see: next photo) The current route is marked by the blue arrows I have superimposed on the map, while the single red arrow marks approximately where the mitigation lies. These residents sat down with CL&P to see what could be done, and according to Town Planner Linda Painter, the official position of the town is to oppose the project’s current route, but to endorse the Hawthorne Ln Mitigation should it go through as planned.
Hawthorne Ln Mitigation Pictured here is the end of the Hawthorne Ln cul-de- sac. There are 3 homes that stand to be affected without this mitigation to the proposal. As is plain to see, existing power lines already run directly through the front yards of these families, and they do not want to have to stare at additional lines.Photo by: Robby Hermanns
Potential Health Effects on Nearby Schools One of the chief concerns of Citizens United, a group that was formed by town residents to oppose the Interstate Reliability Project, is the health risks associated with 345kilovolt power lines. The group cites a study at their website, saveourtown.us, which was collaborated on by the Childhood Cancer Research Group at theUniversity of Oxford and National Grid owners, Transco, which found that statistically, “children whose birth address was within 200 meters of an overhead power line had a 70%increased risk of leukemia.” The group cites a number of other studies aswell, all of them stating various health hazards. Some studies found that the electromagnetic fields are linked to cancer in both chiildren and adults. Photo by: Robby Hermanns Another shows a “six-fold increase in spontaneous abortions occuring before the 10th week of preganancy”in women who withstand exposure to magnetic fields greater than 16 mG.”
What Could Happen Left Unopposed This picture is property of Citizens United. According to their website, this is “whathappens when Utility Companies who value Profit Above People are left unopposed.” The picture was taken recently in a small CT town like Mansfield.