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Peyton residents protest high-voltage power lines

PEYTON, Colo. – Some residents in Peyton are fired up over plans for an El Paso County wind farm, specifically, massive power lines that would run near their homes.

Clipper Wind Power, a California based wind technology company, wants to build ‘The Golden West’ project in Calhan. The facility would have more than 100 wind turbines. First, Clipper needs to get clearance to put in miles of high-voltage power transmission lines on county land off of Highway 24 near Rock Island Trail. Those lines would be close to some homes in the Woodmen Hills neighborhood.

“We feel very strongly, if people come into this neighborhood looking to buy a house, they’re not going to want to buy one next to 100-foot power lines,” said resident Ralph Laurie.

Laurie is leading up efforts to urge county commissioners to only allow the power lines if they are buried underground. That option would be more expensive for Clipper Wind Power. The Woodmen Hills community has held several meetings to discuss the issue, including one on Wednesday attended by about two dozen people.

Woodmen Hills’ residents biggest concern is that the power lines would knock down their property values. Noise is also an issue because the lines would emit a low frequency hum. Another worry is potential health risks.

“If I was a parent, I’d be concerned that my kids would be affected by electromagnetic radiation from the power lines,” said Joseph Chapman, adding that the data on health impacts of high-voltage lines is inconclusive.

In a written statement, Clipper Wind Power told KRDO NEWSCHANNEL 13 that burying the power lines is something it’s considering.

“We have been looking into the feasibility of other alternatives, including burying some of the transmission lines located near localized residential areas,” wrote Communication Director Mary Gates. “At present we are in communication with the neighbors and county staff and are still working toward a viable solution.”

Woodmen Hills residents said that they’re in no way opposed to the wind farm.

“We’re very much in support of the idea,” said Laurie. “If the lines will be buried, all our concerns will be met.”

Next week, county staff will hear both sides of the issue. The final decision is up to county commissioners.

Construction on the wind farm wouldn’t start until at least 2012.