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October 22, 2021

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Henderson rejects proposed NV Energy project

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NV Energy’s request to build a transmission line through three Henderson neighborhoods met a brick wall in the Henderson City Council on Tuesday night.

After taking more than two hours of testimony from NV Energy and concerned neighbors, who filled the council chambers and spoke against the proposal with voices that frequently rippled with emotion, the Council unanimously denied the utility’s application.

NV Energy had asked to upgrade an existing three-wire, 69 kilovolt line to a 20-wire, 230-kiloviolt line to help meet projected energy needs for the Las Vegas Valley.

Though the existing line predates any of the communities it traverses – Section 4, Tuscany and Weston Hills – residents of those communities fiercely fought against the transmission line, saying the 135-foot poles and heavier lines posed health, safety and visual impacts they weren’t willing to accept in the name of progress.

NV Energy Government Affairs Executive Dave Rigdon told the council that Henderson and the surrounding area will need the line by 2015, and the proposed route represented the best way to get it to them, because NV Energy already owns the necessary easements.

The company examined alternative routes at the request of the city but dismissed them because of their additional cost — between $5 million and $19 million above the project’s estimated $27 million price tag — or impact on other neighborhoods where there isn’t already an impact.

“This route represents the best overall solution to the community as a whole,” Rigdon said. “It has the lowest cost, fewest pole structures and fewest circuit miles of transmission corridor.”

After the council’s vote, Rigdon acknowledged that it was a difficult issue.

“I think both sides made great presentations, as the mayor said,” he said. “The council had a difficult decision to make and it made it.”

Rigdon said NV Energy will consider its options, which includes a second look at the alternative routes.

Residents raised a number of issues to fight the project, from health concerns about electromagnetic radiation to property values to simple aesthetics.

“The bottom line is that these are residential communities, where we raise our children and our grandchildren,” Section 4 resident John Blevins said. “(The transmission line) is not a residential corridor. It’s an industrial corridor that belongs out in the middle of nowhere.”

Other residents got creative in their arguments. Two made scale models to show the size difference between the existing line and the proposed line, while another hinted that it would be in the council members’ own political interest to deny the request.

“Just keep us in mind,” Section 4 resident Nancy Myers said. “We will keep you in mind.”

Ultimately, council members said they approached the request from a quality of life standpoint.

Councilman Steve Kirk said he was willing to concede the need for the lines but said NV Energy’s proposal was unacceptable.

“(The lines) don’t need to go on this alignment,” he said. “That’s my message to you tonight. Find an alternate route that doesn’t go through a neighborhood, because in Henderson, this is a quality of life issue.”

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