Rep. Ed Royce, right, and Chino Hills Councilman Peter Rogers, left, listen to Chino Hills Mayor Art Bennett at a town all meeting with the residents of Chino Hills about the fight against the installation of new electrical towers Sunday in Chino Hills. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 12/04/2011 06:08:54 PM PST

CHINO HILLS – Rep. Ed Royce’s focus at a town hall meeting Sunday was how to get 19 power towers taken down throughout the city.

About 100 residents crowded into the Chino Hills Community Club House to voice their opinions about the $2.1 billion Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project.

The 200-feet transmission poles and towers are being installed within Southern California Edison’s right-of-way from Chino Hills’ western border near Tonner Canyon, through the city and eventually into Riverside County.

The project is part of a state mandate to generate more sustainable energy and is slated to be completed in 2015. The California Public Utilities Commission approved the project in 2009.

For four years, the city has fought Edison, with a lawsuit, arguing that the easements in the city are too narrow for the expanded power corridor. The city’s battle with Edison has cost $2.4 million.

Much of Royce’s hour-long meet-and-greet centered on how residents can continue to make a case that the towers are a hazard to their neighborhood.

Royce said the community’s grassroots effort opposing the towers – Hope for Hills – has really put together the nucleus of what the issues are but that’s not enough.

He said galvanizing the community to show this problem will not go away is what will be the most effective.

“If they (residents) are going to make a case they need a larger number of people from this community to get involved, not only to write letters to the governor and to the Public Utilities Commission but also to take a bus to Sacramento for the hearing,” he said.

Early last month, the PUC ordered Edison to stop construction on its expanded power line project and ordered it to present “feasibility, cost and timing” for five alternative routes in two months.

Edison is expected to “serve testimony, with supporting data” on the alternative routes by Jan. 10, according to the PUC.

The town hall meeting was part of Royce’s campaign tour.

Reps. Royce, R-Orange, and Gary Miller, R-Brea, are expected to run against each other in 2012 for the newly drawn District 39 seat in the House of Representatives.

Both congressmen have been doing their part in advocating for the residents.

In October, Miller said Democratic lawmakers in Sacramento were being short-sighted in their decision-making and not taking into account the full ramifications of their actions.

Last week, Miller met with Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Administration officials in Washington, D.C., to share residents’ worries about decreased home values and similar property-related losses.

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