Moffat County resident James Cooper, left, looks Wednesday at maps detailing the proposed and alternative routes of the proposed 600-kilovolt, direct current TransWest Express transmission line, which could run through portions of Moffat County.

Photo by Brian Smith

Moffat County resident James Cooper, left, looks Wednesday at maps detailing the proposed and alternative routes of the proposed 600-kilovolt, direct current TransWest Express transmission line, which could run through portions of Moffat County.

Moffat County residents voice concerns about proposed power line

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Where to write

Residents can submit comments to the BLM regarding TransWest’s proposed power line in several ways, including in person at the various meetings in Colorado, by e-mailing TransWest_WYMail@..., or by writing to:

Bureau of Land Management, Attention Sharon Knowlton, Project Manager, TransWest Express Project, P.O. Box 20678, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Cheyenne, WY 82003.

• For more information, visit www.blm.gov/wy/st...

Moffat County resident James Cooper owns two pieces of land — one north of Craig and one south of Hamilton.

His property could rest in the path of a proposed power line, he said.

For that reason, Cooper attended a Bureau of Land Management public scoping meeting Wednesday at the Moffat County School District administration building.

He attended the meeting to learn the specifics about the proposed 600-kilovolt, direct current TransWest Express transmission line, which could run through portions of Moffat County.

“The land I have north of town is wheat,” Cooper said. “I was wondering if they go across my place up there, how that was going to impact my farming operation.”

Cooper said it’s important for him to learn how the proposed power line could affect his and others’ property and what the impacts could be for local wildlife.

“Especially if they are really adverse, then I’ll be really interested in that,” he said. “If there isn’t any adverse effects, well, then it could be good.”

TransWest is proposing construction of the overhead transmission line from south-central Wyoming through Utah and Northwest Colorado and ending at the Marketplace Hub in southern Nevada — a distance of about 725 miles, according to a news release.

TransWest’s proposed corridor and several of the alternative routes for the power line run through different areas in Moffat County.

The power line would transmit up to 3,000 megawatts per year of electricity, primarily generated from planned renewable energy facilities in Wyoming, to respond to anticipated growth in the southwestern U.S, according to the release.

Wes McStay, a rancher who lives northwest of Craig, said he didn’t quite like the company’s proposed route through the middle of the county. He said he would prefer an alternative route that jogged west.

“It is right through the center of Colorado’s prime sage grouse habitat,” he said of TransWest’s proposed route. “I think there are at least 10 major leks that it would come within a mile or two of.”

McStay said he supported the concept of the power line and liked that it would be carrying renewable power, like wind energy, across the country.

“But, the devil is in the details,” he said looking at a map of the proposed and various alternative routes.

He thinks there is a way to balance the various visual and environmental impacts such a power line could have.

“I think there is a way, a chance, but I’m not wise enough to specify it right now,” he said. “It is going to be a collaborative process.”

Moffat County rancher Burt Clements agreed there were a lot of factors at play, but asked if the power line was truly needed.

“Well, it’s a good project and I’ve got some questions I want to ask them about if they actually need a power line or if they can’t go in the grid and separate it out, and all that,” he said. “But, if it goes in, I’d prefer the (western) route … it’s away from private property, sage chickens and all that stuff.”

Ed Winters, who filed his comments about the project with the BLM, said he owns property adjacent to one of the alternative routes running down Colorado Highway 13.

“That corridor, the problem … I see for them is having to deal with all of the private landowners from the Wyoming line all the way through Moffat County,” he said.

Winters said he was supportive of the plan and wasn’t concerned too much with visual impacts.

“Growing up here, I don’t think that much of it,” he said. “Yeah, it is going to be visually new on the landscape, but Moffat County is kind of criss-crossed with a lot of different transmission lines from over the years from the power plants and everything else. It is part of who we are as Moffat County — energy is a big part of who we are.”

Looking around the room filled with people, Winters said he was pleased so many concerned residents were participating in the process to find a route “we can all live with.”

Wednesday’s scoping project was part of a lengthy process the BLM must undergo before ruling on the power line project.

If the BLM approves the project and determines a location for the power line, TransWest would still need approval from other agencies along with needing to secure state and county permits, which could take several years.

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