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I'm proud of causing this change in APS's way of doing things


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http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2010/06/01/20100601saguaro-transplant-arizona-aps-powerlines-desert.html

Arizona Public Service Co. has hired a north Phoenix firm to transplant small saguaros growing beneath about 700 miles of high-voltage power lines across the state.

The contract could bring nearly $1 million in revenue for Phoenix-based Native Resources International, which was hired to move 15,000 or more small saguaros about 20 feet from the power lines so they don't eventually grow into them and create a safety hazard.

Transplanting saguaros is a shift in policy for APS, which formerly shredded all the vegetation underneath its high-voltage lines, including saguaros, which came out of its giant mower in a puree.

APS officials said shredding was less expensive than transplanting the saguaros or pruning them and having to redo the job every few years.

A recreational prospector filmed the mower in action in January 2009, posted the video on YouTube .com, and APS changed its policy because of the public outcry to seeing the iconic cactus that bears the state flower destroyed.

"We made changes largely in response to the public input we received," APS spokesman Alan Bunnell said.

When the high-power lines were built for APS, the small saguaros did not threaten to cause power to "flashover" and possibly ignite a wildfire or disrupt power, forestry manager Mike Neal said.

But now that they've grown, they need to be dealt with.

"Our primary task is to keep the lights on," Neal said. "Trees and vegetation tend to be leading causes of power outages."

Instead of shredding everything under the lines, APS now transplants saguaros smaller than 10 feet tall, and only destroys larger plants that come within 22 feet of high-power lines. Less-powerful lines have smaller clearances.

When building new lines, APS transplants many of the saguaros out of the right of way, but that wasn't done when some of the older lines were built.

The Bureau of Land Management prefers saguaros encroaching on power lines to be shredded to spread the nutrients back into the soil, while the Forest Service usually prefers the saguaros on its land to be topped or have their arms cut back from the lines, Neal said.

Salt River Project prefers to top the saguaros or saw off the offending arms rather than shred them under all of its high-voltage lines, spokesman Jeff Lane said.

Native Resources also has been contracted in the past to transplant saguaros for APS, SRP and for a natural-gas line running north and south near Interstate 17 (where saguaros also were being destroyed until people complained).

"This is pretty much a proactive approach to save these saguaros," said Jeff Homan, president and co-owner of Native Resources.

Saguaros are being transplanted under a network of APS lines in the north Valley area all the way past Wickenburg, near Yuma, and far beyond the southeastern fringe of the metropolitan area past Casa Grande.

Neal said that more than 4,000 saguaros have been transplanted, and Homan said that all have survived so far.

Company officials had to spend more than 25 hours flying over the lines to assess the project, he said.

"We're all over the state now, wherever saguaros grow," he said.

Arizona utility regulators, who must approve new power lines, began asking utilities about their vegetation management after the shredding video was posted online, and are pleased with the change at APS.

"We weren't able to save every saguaro, but certainly they are doing better than before," Corporation Commission Chairwoman Kris Mayes said.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/business/articles/2010/06/01/20100601saguaro-transplant-arizona-aps-powerlines-desert.html#ixzz0pf21z5br

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That's very cool, Lotsa.......You've made an impact and left a legacy that we probably all don't appreciate right now...you did a great job...Thank you! ... Cheers, Unc

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Tree huggers now Cactus huggers plus millions added to electric bills in phoenix when will the sane wakeup and stop the insane retired fixed income struggling to pay bills single mothers with kids that have to have a little less food to eat that month and i sure hope you do not watch the news this summer and find that a person has passed away because they could not use their air conditioner or swamp cooler usually elderly that cant afford it good luck lotsa luck no high fives here

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Tree huggers now Cactus huggers plus millions added to electric bills in phoenix when will the sane wakeup and stop the insane retired fixed income struggling to pay bills single mothers with kids that have to have a little less food to eat that month and i sure hope you do not watch the news this summer and find that a person has passed away because they could not use their air conditioner or swamp cooler usually elderly that cant afford it good luck lotsa luck no high fives here

You are an idiot who speaks without knowing the subject.

APS was already asking the Corp Commission for a rate increase when this thing came to light. The CC has to approve one before they can raise the rates and they did not give APS permission partly because of the public complaints over this. They had many meeting where they called APS before them to discuss this and other issues in detail while negotiating any increase in utility charges. APS as other must first prove where the increase is needed. I think it's great that our CC listens to us, that's what they are suppose to do.

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Tree huggers now Cactus huggers plus millions added to electric bills in phoenix when will the sane wakeup and stop the insane retired fixed income struggling to pay bills single mothers with kids that have to have a little less food to eat that month and i sure hope you do not watch the news this summer and find that a person has passed away because they could not use their air conditioner or swamp cooler usually elderly that cant afford it good luck lotsa luck no high fives here

While I will not call you an "idiot"....there are many more things hiking energy costs that the Cactus that Lotsa helped save. Cap and Trade will have much more affect on prices. But I ask GDB....where do we draw the line, when it comes to saving the land that we either make our living from or ply our hobby? I am no tree/cactus hugger, but sometimes there is a right way of doing things, even if its the hard way, or the expensive way.

As I drive through the desert here in AZ, I am always glad to be able to turn my head and see the natural sites of the land. The Cactus in just one of them.

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They are now doing the right thing I believe. Its better that cutting the limbs off, and leaving the saguaro looking stupid like a couple powerhouses wanted.

To be honest here Lotsa... when this all hit the fan a while back, I kinda felt worried that they may just make you "disappear" if you know what I mean. :o

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