How Transmission Lines Effect People and Wildlife
The effect on people
The health effects of transmission lines have been a concern of many people. In 1999 the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council stated, “that the current body of evidence does not show that the exposure to magnetic fields presents a human health hazard”. However, even though there is no direct evidence, every new transmission line proposed is designed to meet state and national codes that keep these facilities at a sufficient distance from existing buildings and facilities to maintain health safety for people.
The effect on wildlife
In the planning stages for the licensing and siting transmission lines, habitats critical to the survival of a species, especially those of endangered or threatened species are avoided wherever possible. A variety of mitigation measures are used to reduce or eliminate negative effects of construction including establishing buffer zones around sensitive habitat areas or scheduling construction activities when they will be least disruptive.
There is the possibility of bird collisions with any manmade obstacle, including transmission lines. Avoidance of critical areas of bird concentrations is the most effective mitigation measure to reduce bird strike mortality. Bird diverters and devices are deployed where possible and are increasingly being shown to reduce collisions.
Although both electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are present near transmission lines, numerous research programs have studied the effects of EMF on wild and domesticated animals resulting in no deleterious health effects on animals.