If there were no other choices | TheUnion.com

If there were no other choices

If there were no other choices, I might be able to understand this better. My family and I moved here four years ago from the craziness of the Bay Area to the beautiful surroundings of a quiet rural road on Banner Mountain. Now I’m in the path of what is NID’s “most probable pipeline alignment” for the Banner Mountain Pipeline project.

Why is the choice of cutting a 40-foot swath down a 10- to 12-foot-wide private tree-lined road better than using the existing paved county two-lane roads? I think the answer is in NID’s mission statement, which includes the phrase “at the lowest feasible cost.” I guess by that they mean monetary cost, not human cost. If NID were to use the main roads, no trees or brush would have to be cut, no roads widened, and it would have minimal environmental impact. If NID comes down my 12-foot-wide road, it would become equal to Idaho Maryland Road in width, which is about 24-30 feet wide (I measured) of the paved portion.

I did not choose this! I chose a quiet rural neighborhood off any main road. NID would take that choice away. My road would become a major thoroughfare. NID states they’ll make things “as good as or better.” How? By planting a bunch of 2-foot seedlings. Does this replace 60-, 70-, 80-year-old trees? No. Will NID give us back a 12-foot-wide road? No. They’ll keep the new swath clear because they will need access for “routine maintenance.”

A major consideration of this project needs to be the long-term human effects. Changing people’s lives in a negative way for NID’s own budgetary benefit should not be an option particularly when there are other choices. The added cost of repaving, traffic control, and a possible pump station should be seen as secondary compared to the loss private property owners will incur through choices being taken away from them.

I wish one of the board members or anyone on the management team lived on my road because then this would all be moot.

Jim Pritchard

Nevada City

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