New policies on power lines in public lands

 Power lines can pose a wildfire if they come in contact with vegetation.
Power lines can pose a wildfire if they come in contact with vegetation. (KOTA)
Published: Dec. 13, 2019 at 4:35 PM MST
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The Bureau of Land Management of Montana/ Dakotas State issues a new policy that aims to limit fire risk from power lines in BLM-managed public lands.

In part, the policy outlines effective vegetation management near power lines.

If dead trees and other vegetation touch power lines, they can create a fire hazards, which can lead to wildfires.

Officials say the new policy will also boost the reliability of the electric grid by promoting rapid removal and pruning of vegetation that may get in the way of lines, in addition to numerous safety standards.

We reached out to Black Hills Energy for their response to the new changes. They are reviewing the changes and in a statement, they said:

"Black Hills Energy is committed to providing safe, reliable energy to the communities and customers we serve. We are currently reviewing the policy updates announced by the BLM to understand the full impact on our existing wildfire prevention and maintenance activities. As part of our commitment to safety and reliability, Black Hills Energy has ongoing practices in place that follow prudent industry standards and take precautions necessary that incorporate regular vegetation management, aerial and ground inspections, pole inspection and treatments, integrity replacement plans, weather and field conditions monitoring, and various technology integrations. Wildfire prevention is a top priority and we appreciate the BLM's efforts to make access and managements of right of ways more efficient."

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