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Chino Hills Obstruction of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project

Thursday, March 28, 2013 13:48
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The Center supports the timely completion of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP).   The California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) should reject the Chino Hills underground transmission line proposal.  The Center opposes undergrounding the Chino Hills section of the line because it is an unnecessary alteration of an already approved plan. 

The Center is particularly concerned about threats to a project that provides emission free electricity to Californians.  The California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33% of total procurement by 2020.  California ratepayers do not need the significant increase in the cost of the transmission line simply to appease the aesthetic requirements of some stakeholders.
The underground proposal undermines the CPUC’s approval of the Alta Wind Power Project in the Tehachapi area, one of the largest wind energy contracts in the United States.  The underground proposal is also unacceptable because 12 of 16 transmission structures have already been completed as part of the approved overhead position in the existing utility right-of-way corridor.     


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Total 36 comments
  • Raiderdi

    As has been said so many times, you can have your own point of view, but not your own set of facts. The residents of Chino Hills are not fighting these towers because of aesthetics; although they are ugly. Residents are fighting to have the lines put underground because they are DANGEROUS! These high-voltage transmission lines, which will route 500,000 volts, are within 70 feet of existing homes! Prolonged exposure to the EMFs emitted from these lines is believed to be linked to childhood leukemia, adult brain tumors, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and miscarriages. An industrial report by an industry expert for Hope for the Hills estimates the true cost of burying the lines to be $62.5 million, over $500 million less than SCE’s estimates. This is a blatant case of SCE putting profits before people’s health. Shame on Edison. I would invite the writer of this article to visit the site and SEE these monster towers.

    • Norris McDonald

      I can picture the lines and the proximity to the homes in Chino Hills. But wasn’t the right of way already there before homes were built so close to the lines?

      • Mike G

        Yes, the existing right-of-way was there before the homes, but that area was designed for a much smaller electrical tower. If Edison wanted these monstrous towers with 5000 K running through them, then they should have purchase more land back then, but neither the home builders, Edison nor the County knew that back then.

        Now that we live in the 21st. Century and things have changed Edison just can’t come into our city and start stepping all over our community just because they’re well connected and have Billions of dollars to grease the palms of the hands of the right people. This is our community and Edison needs to respect that fact.

      • krc

        Seriously??? Ronald McDonald has no idea what he/she is talking about. If I could move I would, after all homes in Chino Hills are selling like hot cakes right now, that’s unless you now live next to a 200′ electrical monster. I would be glad to sell my house located at 2446 Calle Bienvenida, Chino Hills if Edison were to offer me a market value. How about you McDonald? Why, I am only 40′ from a 200′ tower that will emit 500K of electricity which EMF and radiation will float all over and around my house. Are you kidding me???? Of course, according to Ronald McDonald I shouldnt be concerned, yet if EMF or monster towers were not a concern I remain puzzled why these type of structures and this level of power can’t they be built and operated in close proximity to a school or why the Federal givernments FHA wont finance a home near one of these monsters. According to McDonald I shouldnt worry about my 7 year old daughters health living here. As the author would have you believe the towers are structurally safe and sound and EMF/radiation is not any concern, so again I ask, would the author be willing to live in my house once the power switch has been turned on???

        BTW, where were you when the debate was siply about putting these towers through the state park. The Chino Hills segment of the project would have been completed long ago by now. Oh wait, you were there fighting on behalf of the endangered grasshoppers, flies and gnats!

        Sure, things shoud be done for the benefit and good of society as a whole, but not at the expense of human beings. Ronald McDonald, you are so misguided, uninformed, and flat out wrong. Pull your head out of the endangered plants and animals rearend! Come see the these towers.

  • AlanY

    Writer of this article has no idea what he/she is talking about. So what if they have already built 12 of the 16 towers. I don’t care if they have built all of the towers and already strung the electrical lines. If it is dangerous to our health then it needs to come down or never be built. The existing right-of-way was for small size electrical towers, not for these monstrosities. Our city and citizens are fighting against the towers not for aesthetics only, but for the right of a city’s citizens to chose what can and cannot be done to the city. Our city has been fighting against these towers from the very beginning, not just after the towers has gone up. “The Center” and its writer needs to do more research on the city and citizens fight against these towers before posting such terrible article. shame on you.

    • Norris McDonald

      We did our research. We have seen challenges to many high power lines. The lines end up being close to some homes. Again, wasn’t the power line right of way there before many more people move close to the lines?

      • sep

        It seems that although you say you did your research, you have not visited the homes and area of these towers. You also did not provide the other side of the story. So maybe saying that you did your research is not correct. Perhaps you could say, “We did SOME research”. Hopefully you are now hearing a great deal of information on the other side of your argument.

        Please come visit Chino Hills. Come visit these Ugly Towers that would not be allowed near schools because there are law protecting humans from the EMF that would be emitted. Ask yourself why are these towers then safe to put near those same human beings who live in the house.

        Shame on Edison for thinking they can do what ever they like!

      • Norris McDonald


        Clearly you have not done YOUR research. We posted the Chino Hills side of the story here:

        I also watched the video about the lines and it was completely unconvincing. I intend to visit the area to see for myself, but I doubt it will change my mind. The folk of Chino Hills are simply thinking about themselves and not the bigger regional picture.

  • ZONK

    Regarding your article; Chino Hills Obstruction of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project. Your point of view seems right out of the S.C. Edison handbook. If “The Center” had looked into this in any detail it would have been realized that Edison management made a fatal mistake in building this project so close to existing homes and the potential fall out from EMF radiation. Edison just lost a $4,000,000 law suit against a single resident in Redondo Beach… multiply that by the 500 homes effected by EMFs in Chino Hills and determine that cost versus the estimated cost of $0.46 month to a ratepayer for safely undergrounding.

    Obviously this article was written by someone with a financial interest in placing 200 foot towers emanating 500,000 volts within 50 feet of existing homes.

    • Norris McDonald


      If you think our position on this issue if for sale, then please, make us an offer.

  • DJ Von

    As far as right of way, these towers are over twice as tall as the ones that were originally located. The transmission power is over 4 times as large as the original lines. How can a person even argue the point that the right of way is equal to what Edison’s actual right of way was when our homes were originally built Why should my family sacrifice their health, home value and happiness, for an energy that we, in Chino Hills, don’t even benefit from? Anyone who has seen these monster towers immediately know that these power lines need to be be buried.

    • Norris McDonald


      We have a diagram comparison of the lines on our site at this link:

      What is going to happen with the transmission line capacity we need if utilities are required to bury high power lines every time they are near a community. Lines are going to increase in cost and serve as a burden to ratepayers. I understand how you feel personally because this is a NIMBY issue for you. But there are bigger issues at stake here. And more than 3 miles of line in Chino Hills. Again, the utility appears to have that right of way before homes were built so close to it. Moreover, most of the high power line is much higher, which should mitigate danger from EMF.

      • DJ Von

        The Monster 70 ft. from my house. If it were to fall over, there would be nothing left of my house. Do you realize how noisy these will be. Forget trying to sleep at night. As far as EMF,
        easy for you ‘which should migrate danger from EMF”. What if it doesn’t!!!!

        If Edison would have built the transmission lines through the state park as originally proposed, we would not need this discussion. Instead the project was jammed down our throats, and now look where we are at.

  • Raphael DeGiorgio

    Amazing to me to think in the name of renewable energy people would think its OK to endanger lives just because they don’t live there or they are concerned that their electricity bill will go up, how damm Ignorant!

    Watch the video below and maybe you would like these monsters next to your home… Than you will understand how incredibly stupid SCE javascript:grin(‘:twisted:’)was to try and get away with this travesty going down the heart of the city of Chino Hills!

    • Norris McDonald

      I found the video to be COMPLETELY unconvincing. I saw singular poles next to a home or two. And the commentary at the end of the video is a great case AGAINST undergrounding the lines. Underground lines are much harder to service than above ground lines. And unfortunately, I love the look of high power lines. If you think you or your family are at risk, I would suggest that you consider moving.

      • Norris McDonald


        Insulting us does not help your case. If you made reasonable points instead of insults, well, you never know, you could influence our position.

      • Raphael DeGiorgio

        After reading the completely asinine comment by Norris “I love the look of high power lines” no more needs to be said!


  • jondavy

    Norris you are a complete and utter fool. your agreements have no valid points nor do you fully understand. My family has a home right by these towers. These towers are extremely dangerous and if were to fall by any means they would land right on a home or more. 200 ft towers in a 150 ft pathway is safe? There’s tons of kids that live in these neighborhoods and one of these towers completely ruined a park where tons of people used to spend time with family with bbq’s and what not. You want your kids playing in the park with this huge buzzing tower? Aesthetics aside they are ruining a community that ive spent most of life. Theres no question they should be buried. I assume you have never seen these in person and maybe should think twice before you get the whole community against you but it’s probably too late. Jackass

    • Norris McDonald

      Jondavy your objection is personal because you live next to the line. You do not seem to care about the greater regional good. I intend to visit Chino Hills since we stuck our foot into this issue. But I doubt I will be swayed. We have supported similar lines on the East Coast and people want the green electricity, but nobody wants to be personally inconvenienced.

  • bturner

    May I ask what your stake in this fight is. You are a politician from Washington who occasionally visits LA. You have not been to the sight in question yet you seem to have all the answers. It is incredible to me to read your response that if we don’t like it we should move. I have owned my house since 1974 and do not feel the need to move because of something that shouldn’t be happening in the first place. Have Edison put up the old lines with the same power running through them and I have no complaint. That is what the right of way was designed for, not towers more than twice the size with 4 times the power. Ignorance!

    • Norris McDonald

      Bturner we work on issue all over the United States and all over the world. We are not just interested in issues in our back yard. There is a much bigger issue here. And it is NIMBY opposition to renewable energy high power lines. Chino Hills is but one community in the forefront of this opposition. No matter the project, from Cape Wind to Mojave projects, opposition arises. America simply cannot move forward if nobody wants to be inconvenienced but everybody wants reliable electricity.

      • bturner

        It’s not in my back yard, it’s in my front yard (sarcasm). If you would like to visit our fine city my address is

        14780 Cherry Circle
        Chino Hills, Ca 91709

        Would love to give you a tour of what is going on first hand. I feel this is the only way you will truly appreciate what we are fighting for. I’ll even throw in lunch if that helps.

        Best Regards
        B. Turner

      • Carbon Canyon Resident

        You said one thing right! There IS a MUCH bigger issue here! If ONE child were to become ill would you still go around calling this a “Nimby” issue or is that just cause for us to have electricity? America simply cannot move forward in an UNSAFE and UNKIND way to HUMANS. This was a huge mistake by SCE and the CPUC. At least the CPUC had the guts to recognize the mistake. If I were you I’d be nicer. If we lose they may end up in YOUR backyard and you just may need the good and kind folks of Chino Hills!

  • Jim Case

    When the California Public Utility Commissioners who initially approved these towers through Chino Hills visited the ROW and saw the problems that had been created, they took the unprecedented step of halting the construction on the project to explore alternatives that were safe for the residents. Over 1000 families live close to these lines (not just a few). Why would the State of California threaten the health of so many families when they would not let a school be built within 300 feet of such powerful lines? Perhaps the author needs to rethink his decision to oppose burying these lines, unless he is willing to have his children or grandchildren be exposed to the high EMF radiation and the health risks associated with such high levels. Perhaps visiting would provide the information you need to understand the faulty logic of this mistaken recommendation, and why thousands of us have rallied and petitioned for a green energy solution that did not destroy our community, and threaten our families.

    • Norris McDonald

      Jim can you send me any information you have on the direct EMF levels that will be homeowners will be exposed to by the new lines. Thank you. Oh. And please do not send generic information because we are very familiar with EMF.

      • Jim Case

        In 2009 the City of Chino Hills engaged an expert professor of electrical engineering from Cal State Sacramento to study the expected EMF levels at the edge of the 150 ft ROW, including a review of the estimates that SCE had made in the EIR to the California Public Utility Commission . He was able to find only one other instance of 500kv double circuit lines in a 150 ft ROW in a residential community, and this other line was built before the residences were built, rather than 15-30 years after the houses along the ROW in Chino Hills. He stated that it was normal practice to keep EMF exposure to 10mG at the edge of a ROW in a residential community, even though SCE estimated the EMF at the edge of the ROW would be 27 mG. However, he also pointed out that SCE’s estimates were based on the Initial load for the lines, and when the total capacity of the double circuit lines was utilized in the future the EMF would reach 110 mG. While even the 27 mG exposure is well within the problematic range, the 110mG exposure clearly raises the serious potential for health impacts, especially for those residents whose back yards are within 40 ft of the horizontal arms of the 200 ft towers. The full study is art of the public record submitted by the City of Chino Hills to the CPUC.

      • Jim Case

        It is troubling that you have not replied to my specific answer to your direct question. Perhaps you need to retract your recommendation, based on the concrete and specific data that makes the health hazards clear, present, and predicable! One point that you should also consider is that the City, the CPUC, and are working hard to create a solution, undergrounding these lines, that will assure timely completion of the project . Instead of contributing to a solution, your uninformed recommendation seeks to block all of the hard work being done to create a solution that does not destroy our health and community.

      • Jim Case

        It is troubling that you have not replied to my specific answer to your direct question. Perhaps you need to retract your recommendation, based on the concrete and specific data that makes the health hazards clear, present, and predicable! One point that you should also consider is that the City, the CPUC, and are working hard to create a solution, undergrounding these lines, that will assure timely completion of the project . Instead of contributing to a solution, your uninformed recommendation seeks to block all of the hard work being done to create a solution that does not destroy our health and community.

  • ACP

    STOP the misinformation! The towers have very little to do with aesthetics and everything to do with the health and public safety of our city. My home is nowhere near the site if the towers and yet we are still adamantly against them being above ground. It makes me sick everything I pick up my toddler children from Montesorri School of Chino Hills to see that toxic tower hovering about the playground. Do what is right for the community and safety of our residents and BURY them NOW!

    • Norris McDonald

      But you like to use electricity don’t you? It does not get to us by magic. And some might have to be inconvenienced for the greater good. If I thought the lines posed a health danger, I would not support the overhead lines going through Chino Hills. And anyone who fears for their health should seriously consider moving. I would if I felt the lines posed a threat to me or my children. America is being held back by this sort of NIMBY objection.

  • ACP

    STOP the misinformation! The towers have very little to do with aesthetics and everything to do with the health and public safety of our city. My home is nowhere near the site of the towers and yet we are still adamantly against them being above ground. It makes me sick every time I pick up my toddler children from Montesorri School of Chino Hills to see that toxic tower hovering about the playground. Do what is right for the community and safety of our residents and BURY them NOW!

  • Dave Seltzer

    For the love of God Mr. McDonald no one, including you, can possibly make any assertions about the devastation the monster towers have brought to our community until you physically get yourself out here and stand in the driveway of home that has a statue of liberty sized monster on top of it. Pictures don’t do it justice. 500,000 VOLTS 70 ft from sleeping children and elderly with pacemakers. Homes can’t be sold or refinanced. Many people are losing the majority of their net worth. The monster towers are so tall that when the “big one” here in CA hits they will topple on top of homes because they are taller than the easement is wide. This has NEVER been done is country. It’s too much, too close! You call that green and environmentally friendly? You have obviously drank the big utility Koolaid.

  • Worker B

    Here is a copy of the 2012 Bioinitiative report on EMF

  • Gary McCarthy

    Mr. McDonald,
    What a specious, derogatory term is NIMBY. It is so useful a tool with which to malign the victims of industry malpractice is search of profits by ignoring of legitimate victims. Why should we build dikes to protect the NIMBYs is New Orleans? Let them move! It’s nonsense to curb polutions in our cities. It’s so costly. Let the victims move! Why try to curb the nicotine pushers. Let the suckers die! Ban assault weapons and huge ammo clips? Are you kidding? We have to protect the gun manufacturers! Remember when the slaughter houses were unspeakable health disasters? The NIMBYS cleaned them up and you and your puppet masters benefited…didn’t you.
    Everyone is Chino Hills supports the green energy movement. But not in OBY when there is a sensible, feasible, affordable alternative that doesn’t risk our health and safety.
    If you are not, as I presume, a toady of the energy industry adding your prestige to their obvious 17th and l8th centuries philosophies (“Let them eat cake!…”Are there no poor houses?”), then do the right thing and get on the noble side of this cause.

  • Mac

    I implore you to use common sense and logic. Do you honestly believe that the CPUC would reverse its decision and contemplate ‘forcing’ SCE to bury the lines over an aesthetics concern? The reversal occured when each member of the CPUC toured the city and witnessed the close proximity of these beasts to many homes.
    You use the old NIMBY arguement, really? “Why don’t we just move if we don’t like it? Well, many have tried and failed to sell their homes even at reduced prices. The reality is that the dropping home prices along the route will affect the property values of the entire city (particularly when more renters move in to the ‘unsellable’ homes). Guess what then? Gee, you’re a journalist, you’re probably already ahead of me. The lower tax revenue impacts the enire county. Don’t believe it? Check out the home values of San Bernardino County and see which cities are at the top of the revenue list.
    You so succinctly summize that this is just an aesthetics issue. Wind generated energy is the least efficient and ecologically detrimental of all renewable energy sources. Don’t ask SCE if this is true or not. Ask an engineer. Then research how many migratory birds are killed by the vaccum created by the massive spinning blades. Then find anyone who can PROVE that 500 kv lines do not pose a health hazzard to anyone who lives in close proximity.

  • Cheryl Davies

    The aesthetic requirements of some stakeholders???  Tell me, when do scientific studies showing higher rates of cancer, tumors, and birth defects, concerns over noise pollution (non-stop drone of electrical lines compared to the sound of a motorcycle going 30 miles an hour), translate into aesthetics? Your arrogance in ignoring these facts is astounding!  Or is it possible that in your arrogance, you haven’t bothered to research the facts???
    The citizens of Chino Hills haven’t been fighting Edison for the past 5 + years over aesthetics!  We have been fighting a corrupt power company who has the gall to advertise they put “safety first”, but in reality has high powered executives running the company who have a long history of putting the almighty dollar first. If you don’t believe that, do a little research into the major health and safety fiascos in Redondo Beach, San Onofre, San Gabriel/Pasadena, and Malibu; my guess is that as you read this, you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, but suffice it to say, Chino Hills has no intention of being added to that list.  
    As for the people who bought next to the Edison easement, count me as one of them.  Thirty seven years ago, my husband and I bought a home next to the Edison easement that had 75 foot towers, with 220 K lines in a 150 foot easement; by the way, in that extensive research that you conducted before you expressed yourself so arrogantly, did you happen to come across the fact that in that entire 37 years and for as long as anyone at that time could remember, those lines were considered inactive and only a minimal amount of power was flowing through them?  Contrast that with today’s situation, with 200 foot towers in a 150 foot easement, with the proposed wattage of 500 K!  DO THE MATH SIR!  Last I checked, there is no way a 200 foot tower fits in a 150 foot easement without impacting (as in the very real possibility of falling into) the surrounding neighborhoods!  
    You appear to be concerned with the timeline that has to be followed.  Suffice it to say that if Edison had gone with the option of taking the new  200 foot towers through Chino Hills State Park through the already existing Edison easement (where there are already existing towers), the project would be completed by now.  However, in the interest of “safety first” (for who, the animals?) they chose to put these monster towers next to people’s homes with all the health and safety issues that implies.  
    Yes, I agree, you need to follow the exemplary example of each member of the CPUC board who thoughtfully came to the city of Chino Hills; maybe after you see the situation as it really is, you will realize why the CPUC called a halt to the process going forward. You will understand how disastrous a HEATLTH and SAFETY issue this can turn into if allowed to go forward with the towers left in place.  I suggest you change into some clean shoes though; the Edison muck you’re stepping in is going to taste mighty foul when you realize you’ve stuck your foot in your mouth big time!  Now THAT is an issue of “aesthetics”!
    Cheryl Davies
    Citizen of Chino Hills AND California ratepayer

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