A letter unanimously approved by Oak Ridge City Council on Monday asks federal officials to postpone a project to remove trees and other vegetation from the top of Pine Ridge for 161-kilovolt power lines that will provide electricity to a new substation at the Y-12 National Security Complex.
Among the City Council concerns: They only recently learned of the project, they don’t know what other options were considered, and they are worried about the visual impact of 79-foot transmission towers being located on top of Pine Ridge. Also, Council members said, there has been no public discussion about the project until two weeks before the logging operation was scheduled to start on Thursday, November 16.
The clearing work is part of a project to build a new substation at Y-12. It will replace an existing substation that is “nearing the end of its service life,” according to information presented to City Council and some community members. The tree removal will allow the 161-kilovolt power lines to be installed in the cleared area. The area to be cleared is on top of the ridge, about 2.1 miles long, and it will support a right-of-way that is about 100 feet wide. The electrical line would run from east to west on Pine Ridge, according to a report to City Council from Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. All of the work would be on U.S. Department of Energy property, officials said.
The new substation will service all of Y-12, but it is being built as a subproject of the Uranium Processing Facility. It would be near UPF on the west side of Y-12. [Read more…]