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‘State of Emergency a Blockade to Liberia’s Economy’

first_imgHundreds of Liberians using the highway connecting Bomi, Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties have complained that the blockade by the Joint Security as a result of the State of Emergency announced by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is seriously impeding their movements. They also complained that it will harm the nation’s economy.The citizens made the disclosure Thursday, August 7, to our reporter who toured the Klay area, where the Joint Security team has a checkpoint.In an interview with some of these citizens, most of whom are business people and commuters, moving between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, they said the State of Emergency will damage economic growth for this year, if some of the measures are not reduced in favor of business people.They noted that from the economic and business perspective, the State of Emergency is a concern to them because it is going stall economic growth.“The fact is that once your country is under a State of Emergency, which in itself is a disincentive to foreign investors who will not be inclined to choose Liberia until it is lifted,” Maima Kromah, a Liberia businesswoman, who was taking a taxi loaded with goods from Monrovia to Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County, indicated.A resident of Bomi County, Musa Foday, stated that local investors are already in a state of paralysis. “They will not be inclined to move ahead during this State of Emergency,” he opined.The traders argued that although the President is trying to stop the further spread of the Ebola virus in Liberia, the timing of the State of Emergency is not ripe. They believe she should have long since declared the emergency back in March when the disease first broke out.“We agree that she is using her power as the President; but people in rural Liberia need food and other things for their families. So tell me with this kind of situation right now on the this road, how are we going to feed them?” Madam Kromah wondered.The businesswoman projected that if the emergency extends into December, which is the Christmas season, it will have a severe effect on the nation’s revenue intake.All the other merchants who spoke with the Observer proposed that the government of Liberia needs to determine a strategic plan in the fight against the Ebola virus. They said the plan must make enough room for the business sector to operate, with very limited restrictions.President Sirleaf late Wednesday, August 6, declared a State of Emergency through the Republic, to be observed for 90 days (three months).In declaring the emergency, the President said the government will institute extra-ordinary measures including, if need be, the suspension of certain rights and privileges as mandated by the Constitution.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Bouquet Canyon residents wary of lines proposal

first_img“When people fight wildland fires, they usually attempt to make their stand on a ridge top,” she said. The existing transmission towers along the ridge are up to 60 feet tall, while the new towers to be installed in the Antelope-Pardee Transmission Project would stand up to 178 feet. In arguing against the proposed midslope line, Bouquet Canyon residents point to an environmental report done for the project that gauges risk from a wildfire. They prefer the new lines run the same path as the existing ones. “If the wildfire were burning east … there would be no ground suppression tactic between the mid-slope fire and the structures (cabins) located in Bouquet Canyon,” the report states. Because smoke from a wildfire can cause electricity to arc from a high-power transmission line, it would have to be shut off before firefighters could move in. But parts of the proposed transmission line are less than a half-mile from Bouquet Canyon Road, where there are more than 100 cabins. The report states that in high winds, a fast-moving fire could reach the road before the line could be shut off. Kadota said a fire is unlikely to start in the remote mid-slope area where the transmission line would go, unless lightning struck. But cabin owners are still worried by the proposed alignment. “It would devalue the cabins, devalue the private property,” said cabin owner Linda Love. “The safety risk is significant.” Because it is within the forest, Love is restricted to living in her 80-year-old recreational cabin part-time, like other cabin residents in the canyon. She shares a quiet dirt lane with other cabin owners, amid oak trees and fallen leaves, with a bubbling creek as her front yard. Cabin owners feel that they have been overlooked in the planning for the power corridor, and they point to a planning map that failed to show their presence, even though it showed other things such as an old campground. The power project is a Southern California Edison initiative. The wind-generated power that the 500-kilovolt line would carry will come from the Tehachapi Mountains, and the project will increase Southern California’s share of renewable energy. Residents of Agua Dulce and Leona Valley opposed an alignment that would have put the transmission lines through their communities, instead of through the forest. Earlier this year, the California Public Unities Commission voted to put the line through the sparsely populated forest, instead of the two neighboring communities. Authorities have studied whether putting the transmission lines on the east side of the reservoir would get in the way of firefighting aircraft, coming in low to land in the water and tank up. In a letter to Southern California Edison, the county Fire Department said the lines would not get in the way of aircraft. But the Fire Department asked that big spheres be placed on the lines so that pilots could clearly see them. Howell, who works in advertising, said he does not like that, as he looked down at the reservoir from a ridge on his ranch. “It’s going to span both roads over to this knoll on the right,” he said. “They’re going to go right across there and put up their towers and their lines and their big orange balls.” After the Forest Service makes its decision next month on the transmission line alignment, the project could start in the late fall. Barring an appeal of the Forest Service decision, construction could take 14 months. alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST – At the edge of a water reservoir dotted with tiny islands, the canyon floor is green and natural – while in the distance transmission lines run along a high ridge. The view is pristine from Ron Howell’s 250-acre ranch in the Angeles National Forest. At least the view to the west is, because to the north he has a power transmission line with an audible buzz. Now, a new transmission line is proposed for the picturesque western edge of his property, on his side of the reservoir instead of on the other side, where a transmission line now runs. Howell is worried about being nearly penned in by transmission lines at his ranch home. Just southwest in Bouquet Canyon, cabin owners fear that the line would run too close to their own properties, and could expose them to fire risk. The transmission line is one segment of a $1.8 billion project to bring wind power into Southern California. For Howell, the project is too close to home. “It’s horrible,” he said. “We’ve put our life savings into restoring this ranch.” The U.S. Forest Service next month is expected to make a decision on the alignment of the transmission line – called the Antelope-Pardee Transmission Project – in the Angeles National Forest. One factor the agency is considering is that if it puts the new power corridor midslope, nearer the cabins and on Howell’s side of the reservoir, it could tear down the existing transmission lines along the ridge above the cabins, said Marian Kadota, project manager for the Forest Service. Eliminating the ridge-line power lines, which are a dangerous obstruction when flames are lapping nearby, could help firefighters suppress wildfires, Kadota said. last_img read more