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BLM seeks input on proposed TransWest Express transmission line project



The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Western Area Power Administration (Western) are seeking public comment on an environmental impact statement (EIS) that will evaluate the potential impacts of constructing the TransWest Express 600-kilovolt (kV) direct current (DC) transmission line project, which is proposed to cross portions of Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming.  The project is proposed by TransWest Express, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation.  The BLM and Western are jointly leading the project.  The announcement was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 4, and initiates a 90-day public scoping period.

TransWest Express, LLC, proposes to construct an extra-high-voltage overhead transmission line from south-central Wyoming through Utah and northwestern Colorado terminating at the Marketplace Hub in southern Nevada – a distance of about 725 miles.  The project would also include two AC/DC converter stations, a fiber optic network communications system, and two ground electrode facilities.  The proposed line would transmit up to 3,000 megawatts per year of electricity generated primarily from planned renewable energy facilities in Wyoming to respond to anticipated load growth in the southwestern United States.  Alternative routes identified so far would affect federal, state, and private lands. Authorization of this proposal may result in the amendment of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and BLM land and resource management plans.

The BLM and Western expect to host 23 open-house meetings at various locations in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada along the proposed corridor to provide the public an opportunity to review the proposal and project information.  Staff and project proponents will be available at each open house to explain project details and gather information from interested individuals or groups.  Through the scoping process, the BLM and Western expect to gather public input on resources and issues that should be addressed in the EIS, including route alternatives that should be analyzed in detail in the EIS and sources of information that may be used in the environmental analysis. The USFS and other cooperating agencies are expected to participate in the public meetings.  The Nevada meetings will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

Mon., February 28:  Caliente Elementary School, 300 Lincoln Street, Caliente

Tues., March 1:  Clark County Community Center, 320 N. Moapa Valley Blvd., Overton (Moapa Valley)

Wed., March 2:  Heritage Park Senior Facility, 300 S. Racetrack Road, Henderson

Thurs., March 3: Desert Breeze Community Center, 8275 Spring Mountain, Las Vegas (Spring Valley)

All of the meeting dates and locations will be announced at least 15 days prior to the event through local media, newspapers, and newsletters, and posting on the project Web site: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/transwest.html.

Comments may be made to the BLM and Western during the open house meetings, via the project e-mail address ([email protected]) or in writing to Bureau of Land Management, Attention Sharon Knowlton, Project Manager, TransWest Express Project, P.O. Box 20678, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82003.  Facsimile comments will not be accepted.  Project information and documents will be available on the project Web site: http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/transwest.html.  To ensure that written comments and information are fully considered during the preparation of the Draft EIS, the BLM must receive them by close of business on April 4, 2011. All comments and submissions will be considered in the environmental analysis process.

For further information or to have your name added to the mailing list, contact Sharon Knowlton, Project Manager, (307) 775-6124; or at the email or mailing address noted above.

BLM manages more land — more than 245 million acres — than any other Federal agency.  This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.  The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

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