An alternative to the B2H power transmission line

The Saturday, July 18, edition carried an ad paid for by Idaho Power, complete with pretty picture and nebulous blandishments, which tells us hillbillies that our deprived home will be transformed into paradise on earth with the penetration of B2H through our land. I beg to differ, and offer an alternative idea.

The B2H proposal is, as it stands, inefficient, obsolete from the git go, shows little prospect of financial return, destructive, and is a deeply offensive intrusion to many people who live in the affected area. It is also an invasive foot in the door for further utility routing down the proposed corridor. But, if the electrical powers that be insist on running a new utility line through our homes, here is an alternative which may be a better deal all around. Sit down with Union Pacific and propose to supply free power to the railroad in exchange for easement for construction of the power lines along the rail route, and split the cost of electric locomotives and installing of line electrification. Such a move would: 1) Eliminate fuel burning motive power on one of UP’s most difficult divisions. 2) Regenerative braking on the downhills would return some power to the system. 3) Both preceding points would eliminate or reduce emissions from diesel exhaust and brake smoke. 4) The trains would run quieter. 5) Both Idaho Power and Union Pacific would reap good press and maybe make a few friends. 6) Electric railroads around the world have infrastructures much less tall and intrusive than the proposed B2H towers. Somehow they efficiently transmit great amounts of power at high voltage without ruining the skyline, and operate safely while doing so. 7) The railroad operation would only consume a fraction of the transmitted power, leaving plenty to feed the grid at the other end.

Crazy idea? Maybe. Many people thought Ted Judah was crazy. Ask UP what Theodore Judah did for the railroads.

Buck Pilkenton


Ulysses Grant had foresight about U.S. race relations

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), 18th president of the United States (1869-1877), was the general most responsible for the military defeat of the rebelling Southern states during the Civil War (1861-1865). Suffering severe pain from throat cancer, Grant died just three days after finishing his fascinating memoir of the Civil War, which I just finished reading.

I quote one paragraph of Grant’s memoir of over 500 pages, in which he ponders a topic so much in the news today, race relations:

“It is possible that the question of a conflict between races may come up in the future, as did that between freedom and slavery before. The condition of the colored man within our borders may become a source of anxiety, to say the least. But he was brought to our shores by compulsion, and he now should be considered as having as good a right to remain here as any other class of our citizens.”

Grant portends “conflict between races.” How disappointed he would be, that 156 years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and 125 years after Grant wrote the passage above, many of our “colored” citizens in the United States have not yet achieved the rights of “any other class of citizens.”

Gary Dielman

Baker City

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