“We will be preparing a detailed environmental management plan for the project prior to the start of construction,” said Barrett.If the BCUC grants the application, it is expected construction of the project would begin early next year and the line would be in service by October of 2013.More information on the project can be found online at http://transmission.bchydro.com/projects/dcc/. For more information on the BCUC, its regulatory review process and how to participate, go online to www.bcuc.com. Detailed maps of the proposed transmission line route, divided into three main sections, have been included with this article. The public utility announced today it has applied for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to the independent regulator of energy services, that will examine the need and justification for the project, its cost, socio-economic and environmental factors, and what alternatives to the project might exist.The Dawson Creek/Chetwynd Area Transmission Project is a proposed 230-kilovolt double-circuit transmission line, spanning about 60 kilometers between the planned Sundance Substation, to be located 19 kilometres east of Chetwynd near Highway 97, and Bear Mountain Terminal. A second 230-kilovolt double-circuit line, about 12 kilometers long, will connect Bear Mountain Terminal to Dawson Creek Substation. Bear Mountain Terminal will then be expanded into a full substation. The project is estimated to cost about $250 million and create up to 110 jobs per year during the construction stage. BC Hydro states that electricity demand in the South Peace region is growing at 10 times the rate as the utility’s system as a whole is growing, largely driven by natural gas development and related activities.- Advertisement -The route for the proposed transmission line was chosen after extensive consultation with stakeholders, and generally follows either the route of an existing transmission line or exiting roads or railroads where possible to minimize new disturbance, said Bruce Barrett, vice president responsible for BC Hydro’s major transmission and distribution projects.”We’ve been communicating with stakeholders in the South Peace for over a year, including elected officials for the communities in the area, and property owners who could be affected by the construction of the project,” he said. “We have communicated with the owners of over 100 private parcels.He said the preferred route for the line will affect more than 75 property owners, primarily with agricultural properties. He said the majority of houses are well over 100 metres from the proposed location of the line, and in cases where there are homes close to the existing line, they’ve made efforts to deviate from the existing right-of-way to avoid those homes.Advertisement He said a major mitigation effort is the design of the tower structures that will support the line, which will employ a single, steel pole structure rather than multiple poles or structural foundations. They will also select locations for those poles that minimize the impact to the land base, such as on on fencelines or near roads, he said. He added they will not be using guide wires so won’t be any wires or anchors extending out from the structures that will interfere with agriculture or other uses.”We’ve tried to keep the corridor as narrow as we can and reduce the number of structures, and in that way limit the effect on the land base,” said Barrett, adding there will be between 200-250 poles along the length of the project.The project does not require a provincial environmental assessment, and at this time appears not to trigger a federal assessment either. However, BC Hydro did hire a consulting firm to carry out environmental and archeological studies starting last year. Advertisement
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – An Islamic militia with alleged links to al-Qaida seized Somalia’s capital Monday after weeks of fighting with U.S.-backed secular warlords, raising fears that the nation could fall under the sway of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization. The advance unified the city for the first time in more than a decade and after 15 years of anarchy in this Horn of Africa nation. But it also posed a direct challenge to a fledging U.N.-backed Somali government. “We won the fight against the enemy of Islam. Mogadishu is under control of its people,” Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, chairman of the Islamic Courts Union, said in a radio broadcast. The militia, which has formed an alliance that transcends clan, controls a 65-mile radius around the capital after fighting off a secular alliance of warlords. The Islamic militia is gaining ground just as the U.N.-backed interim government struggles to assert control outside its base in Baidoa, 155 miles from Mogadishu. The prices of weapons soared there Monday as fears grew that the militia could head to Baidoa next. The militia is the first group to consolidate control over all of Mogadishu’s neighborhoods since the last government collapsed in 1991 and warlords took over, dividing this impoverished country of 8 million people into a patchwork of rival fiefdoms. Omar Jamal, director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in St. Paul, Minn., said the Islamic militia’s victory in Mogadishu was a turning point in the country’s history. “It is exactly the same thing that happened with the rise to power of the Taliban” in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the extremists are “using the people’s weariness of violence, rape and civil war” to gain support for a government based on Islamic law. The battle between the militia and the secular alliance has been intensifying in recent months, with more than 300 people killed and 1,700 wounded – many of them civilians caught in the crossfire of grenades, machine guns and mortars. Alliance leaders could not be reached for comment Monday and had likely fled Mogadishu. One of them, warlord Mohamed Dheere, was believed to be in neighboring Ethiopia seeking reinforcements. The United States is backing the secular alliance in an attempt to root out any al-Qaida members operating in the Horn of Africa. U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, have confirmed cooperating with the warlords. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, president of Somalia’s transitional national government, has said Washington is funding the alliance. The Bush administration has not confirmed or denied backing the alliance, saying only that they support those who fight terror. On Monday, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he could not offer any details about Monday’s advance by the militia. “We do have real concerns about the presence of foreign terrorists in Somalia, and that informs an important aspect of our policy with regard to Somalia,” he said. The United States has not carried out any direct action in Somalia since the deaths of 18 servicemen in a 1993 battle depicted in the film “Black Hawk Down.” The U.S. officials said recently that Islamic leaders in Mogadishu are sheltering three al-Qaida leaders indicted in the deadly 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The same al-Qaida cell is believed responsible for the 2002 suicide bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya that killed 15 people and a simultaneous attempt to shoot down an Israeli airliner over Kenya. The Islamic militants and their secular rivals began competing for influence in earnest after a U.N.-backed interim government slowly began to gain international recognition. The government, weak and wracked by infighting, has not even been able to enter the capital because of the violence. Interim Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi recently fired four ministers who were part of the secular alliance, leaving the alliance without any support in the government. Mogadishu residents expressed relief at Monday’s relative peace, but had mixed responses to the Islamic militia’s advance. “The victory of Islamic courts is a major step toward a lasting peaceful settlement in Mogadishu,” said Somali economist Abdinasir Ahmed. “We are tired of the deception and rhetoric of the warlords.” Abdulqaadir Bashir, a computer engineer, disagreed. “The Islamic clerics want to be like Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” he said. “People have no hope at all.” Jamal said it will take time for the militants to consolidate their power in Mogadishu, and that the struggle to control the country will not end there. He called on the international community to do everything possible to support the U.N.-backed government to keep the Islamic radicals from expanding their power base any farther. “This war will not stop in Mogadishu,” Jamal said. 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