It is Yampa Valley Electric Association’s purpose to provide cost-effective electricity to the community of Steamboat Springs. It is the city manager’s and City Council’s responsibility to preserve and protect open space on behalf of our community. To install a very prominent power line through Butcherknife Canyon — one significantly taller and with more and heavier lines than currently exist — is contrary to the commitment Steamboat residents have demonstrated again and again to open space.
As our electric cooperative, YVEA should work with the city in providing power to us in a manner consistent with the community’s expressed values. It is city leadership’s responsibility to see that YVEA does so. We are confident that, working together, the leadership of YVEA, our city manager and our City Council can come up with a strategy that will demonstrate to the next generation, as they walk and bike to school, that we truly are committed as a community to preserving our unique places and open spaces.
The dramatically larger power lines intended to replace the current lines through Butcherknife are an entirely new installation. No piece of hardware or timber from the old lines is being used. While the new power line can be argued to be no more than an improvement or upgrade, its installation is not in the spirit of — and it does not meet the intent of the city’s agreement with the cooperative — having new lines installed underground.
We are eager to see a genuine effort from all responsible parties to work toward a near-term, but more important a long-term, solution and commitment to this and similar installations. I have been told that solution already is in place. We’ll see.