Power lines near airport in Delta will be lowered

DELTA — High capacity power lines just north of Delta’s Blake Field Airport are expected to be lowered in the coming months as the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Delta County officials continue to hash out a permanent solution.

In March, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a report that determined nine poles, installed by Tri-State last November, pose a hazard to air navigation and could impair airport efficiency.

The 50-foot-tall poles are on a hill that rises 100 feet higher than the runway, exceeding FAA height limits.

Tri-State and the county agreed the poles need to be removed and the route altered, according to Delta County Attorney Christine Knight.

“The county ultimately wants them moved,” Knight said.

For Tri-State to reroute the line, installation crews would have to operate in a Wilderness Study Area, which is protected federally and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management.

In mid-April U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., cosponsored the Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011, a bill aimed at allowing officials the opportunity to release certain study areas if the area is no longer needed or fails to meet Wilderness Study Area characteristics. The bill is still in committee and has not been presented to the House.

Knight said lowering the line would only be a temporary solution until the fate of the Wilderness Study Area is determined.


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