Opinion: Time to place power lines underground in Juneau, US

Here’s one way to combat climate change.

There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the world is going through a climate change. Whether it’s man-made or not may be in question, but it doesn’t matter. I don’t believe we can continue the way we do things here in the United States as if these climate changes are temporary. We need to evaluate building codes, utility systems and transportation systems. The cost to life and property will continue to expand significantly unless we give it a high priority status.

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I think the first effort should be our electrical power. Since the early 1900s, we have run most of our electrical power over lines and poles or towers. In recent years, a few of the lines have been placed underground. Whenever the electrical utility companies are asked about placing more of the lines underground, they explain that doing so will be costly to them and the users. If you think about it, every time we have any kind of high wind event, flood, land or snow slide, the first thing we are told is thousands will be left without electrical power. Massive amounts of time are spent trying to put things back in order. All kinds of costly fires are caused by downed lines. Lives are placed in jeopardy.

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A great example was the California forest fires last year created by Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s poor upkeep of its electrical towers crossing through the national forest. Because of these extreme damages, insurance rates are being expanded to cover the rebuild costs.

Our government needs to mandate that all electrical utility companies immediately place all power lines underground no matter the cost. The American public can no longer afford foot dragging by utility companies. Locally, we can start this by demanding that Alaska Electric Light & Power put all lines underground within the City and Borough of Juneau.

Jack Marshall,

Juneau


• My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.