Residents Band Together To Stop Power Line Installation
Shelburne Citizens Fear Lines Will Make Kids Sick

November 9, 2004

SHELBURNE, Vt. -- The power companies say it's essential to provide reliable electricity to northern Vermont, but some Shelburne residents fear new power lines will make their kids sick.

They live in the path of a new high-voltage power line.

This group went public with a hard-hitting message to every citizen of the state.

They're armed with passion and a petition from hundreds of Shelburne citizens upset over the new Velco transmission lines which would cut through their town.

"Cancer in children is a very real concern," said Derrick Senior.

Velco awaits approval to build 60 miles of new lines on tall towers from Rutland to south Burlington to meet rising power demand and prevent blackouts for years to come.

"We believe the state of science after 25 years of research is fairly clear," said David Mace, a spokesman for Velco. "There are no demonstrable health effects from power line electromagnetic fields."

Tell that to Shelburne, the most congested area of the route, where residents want four miles of line buried, costing millions more.

"We really want it underground," said Rep. Joyce Errecart. "If we have to pay some percentage, then we're certainly willing to negotiate, but we have nobody to assist us with negotiations."

They are demanding help from Gov. Jim Douglas and are distributing new posters that make their position pretty plain: "Dear Mr. Douglas: Please Don't Give Me Cancer."

The Douglas administration fired back on Tuesday, saying the Shelburne group grossly underestimates the cost to bury the new line.

It also said the state's best experts found insufficient evidence linking overhead lines to cancer.

For opponents, time is running out. Velco hopes to win approval to begin construction in January.