Lines of Power

Mesa residents claim a Tempe councilwoman's home is being spared from high-tension lines--at their expense

While scientists research EMF effects, SRP takes a noncommittal stance, neither denying nor officially recognizing the health dangers posed by transmission lines. Until science comes up with more definitive answers, Zimmerman says, the company will adhere to a policy that avoids putting lines near homes as often as possible.

The laws of physics dictate that the power of electromagnetic fields falls off very quickly with distance, so placing power poles five feet or 100 feet from houses takes on considerable importance.

With four public entities--SRP, Arizona Department of Transportation, and the cities of Mesa and Tempe--involved in the project, Gerk says getting that point across has been maddening.

And, despite the proximity of all those kilovolts, the entire process has left her feeling powerless.

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