Pourchot asks utility for more information about intertie route

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The commissioner of the state Department of Natural Resources wants a detailed analysis from Golden Valley Electric Association about alternate routes for a power line that would avoid the Tanana Flats.

Pat Pourchot said Tuesday he will compare those alternatives with a state-approved Northern Intertie route before making a final decision on the Northern Intertie.

Pourchot said the possibility of building a new line along the existing intertie was closely scrutinized, but not the route variations offered in a recent independent report.

The report was commissioned by the GVEA Ratepayers Alliance, a group that opposes the Tanana Flats crossing. William Mazotti, a former vice president of California Pacific Gas and Electric, wrote that there were different routes and line construction methods that could be used north of the flats.

Golden Valley Electric has objected to the alternatives, saying they would cost more to build. Pourchot questions that conclusion.

''There could be alternatives that do not involve that extra cost,'' Pourchot said.

A state ''best-interest finding'' was released in July that went along with building a power line across the Tanana Flats. But the ratepayers group and others disagreed, saying that route would mar the scenery. The governor issued a directive for the state to reconsider its decision after a public outcry over the finding.

Golden Valley has been trying to gain permission from state and federal agencies to build the 100-mile, high-voltage line from Healy to Fairbanks to augment an existing line.

The proposal has undergone extensive governmental reviews for the past six years. It already has gained the necessary approval and permits for crossing federal lands, including the flats.

Pourchot said he wasn't sure when he would be making a decision.

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