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Residents lose battle against electric company over power lines

By: Bill Melugin
EL PASO, Texas Residents living in an upper valley neighborhood lost their battle against El Paso Electric Co. over the installation of high-voltage power lines near their home.

A few months ago, homeowners were in an intense fight against El Paso Electric because of the power lines, and they're worried about a drop in property value and health risks.

They weren't able to stop construction, and now those power lines are here to stay.

"There is some frustration; it just seems like we're fighting David versus Goliath here. We're fighting a Goliath of a monster with government and utilities," said resident Adrian Medina.

Medina said the neighborhood raised as much money as they could to fight back legally against the electric company. However, they ultimately fell short.

"These lines are 85 feet tall; some are over 100 feet tall. They're brown; they try to say that they're for camouflage, except I've never seen a brown sky except in spring," Medina said.

Those lines are the cause for many of homes in the area being put up for sale.

"I think there is a little bit of depression set in, because here you were sold a certain bill of goods by a home builder to live in a pristine, untouched valley near a river and a park, and now all of a sudden we have these big lines," Medina said.

Medina said it's a shame to see what used to be a beautiful valley with a great southern view change forever.

"We all need electricity, but there also needs to be that livability factor, and there's not that much green space to begin with in all of El Paso," Medina said.

Although the electricity hasn't started flowing, Medina knows there's no going back.

"These lines, unfortunately, are here to stay," Medina said.

Medina says the residents were told by the city that the lines would only cause their property value to drop 5 or 10 percent, but for a 2,000-home neighborhood worth $150 million, he says that's a lot of money.



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