We do sympathize with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District – they need energy to keep things running and plans for a transmission line that would have crossed Colusa and Sutter counties would have helped.
But we’re happy the project is no more. It might have been a solution for a Sacramento problem (had it not been so expensive), but would have caused headaches for farmers through our area. And farm issues are too easily brushed off by utilities.
SMUD decided to cancel the Colusa-Sutter Transmission Line (CoSu) immediately, it was announced late last week. In their initial work evaluating environmental impacts and conducting permitting and engineering, it was determined the project was too costly. They originally estimated it would cost $245 million. That cost increased by more than $100 million ... likely more.
SMUD and the Western Area Power Administration have been working on the proposal more than four years. It would have taken more land out of production and, by further hampering aerial operations, would have cost farmers more.
The real problem is that it wouldn’t have been a unique proposition ... there is always some project that would take more farmland out of operation. So, it’s not that we were critical of just the CoSu project. Somewhere along the line, we’ve got to stop assuming that taking farmland out of operation is a reasonable option for whatever engineering project that comes up.
Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.