Coconino NF seeks public comments on proposed APS 69kV line

Contact(s): Elizabeth Munding, 928-203-2914


SEDONA, Ariz., Jan. 6, 2020 — The Coconino National Forest is considering a proposal from Arizona Public Service Company (APS) to construct a 69-kilovolt (kV) above-ground electric power line to improve electrical reliability within and surrounding the communities of McGuireville and the Village of Oak Creek.

Depending on the power line’s routing across Forest Service land, the project would include 11 to 14 miles of above-ground line and administrative-use roads to maintain the line. The purpose of this project is to minimize APS outages to customers in the Oak Creek, McGuireville, and Cornville areas on existing lines. Connecting substations would provide backup power.

The public is invited to provide input on the APS McGuireville-Village of Oak Creek 69kV Transmission Line proposal during a 30-day comment period Jan. 6 through Feb. 3, 2020. To view the scoping letter online, see the Forest Service’s project website: https://tinyurl.com/APS-McGuireville-OakCreek.

The public can submit their comments in person at the Red Rock Ranger District office, 8375 SR 179, Sedona, or in writing, through one of several methods:

  • E-mail: Send to comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@fs.fed.us and include “APS McGuireville-Oak Creek” in the subject line.
  • U.S. Mail: Send to Coconino National Forest, Attn: APS McGuireville-Oak Creek, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341.
  • Fax: to (928) 203-7539.

Within the APS McGuireville-Village of Oak Creek 69kV Transmission Line project proposal, identified routes include a preferred powerline route, which follows existing travelways along Cornville Road and Beaverhead Flat Road, as well as two additional routes set off the main travelways. In all identified routes, the proposed powerline would follow a single path as it travels to each substation. The single path near the Village of Oak Creek would be alongside the Kel Fox Trail and cross SR 179 (tying into existing above-ground lines that cross SR 179) on its way to the Oak Creek substation.

The new segments of the 69kV power line would be built on steel poles with a single 69kV circuit configuration (three wires per circuit). Some portions of the line could be consolidated with existing single-circuit poles creating a double 69kV circuit configuration (six total wires on the same pole). It is anticipated that any new poles would be approximately 65 feet in height, similar to existing 69kV lines in the area. The powerline segments would require a right-of-way or easement 40 feet in width to construct, operate, and maintain the facility.

To identify and assess the environmental impacts associated with the project, an environmental assessment (EA) will be developed under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA establishes the format and content requirements of an environmental analysis and documentation as well as requirements for public involvement and disclosure. The responsible official’s decision will be based on compliance with law, regulation, and policy; consultation with cooperating and regulatory agencies and interested tribes; review of public input received throughout the planning process; review of the environmental consequences disclosed in this EA; and the outcome of any administrative review process.

As part of the planning process, there would be a need for a project-specific amendment to the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Coconino National Forest (Forest Plan). Construction and operation of an above-ground powerline would require a forest plan amendment, at the same time as the decision document for this project, because the proposed activities would not meet the desired scenic integrity objectives (SIOs) for the project area established in the Forest Plan.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment, will be part of the public record for this project.

A draft environmental assessment is anticipated to be released later in 2020 and will have an additional 30-day public comment period.

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