The Bureau of Land Management wrapped up a series of meetings that helped them gather insight into their Environmental Impact Study on the Energy Gateway South Transmission Project.
They finished their last meeting in Rawlins, Wyo., on Thursday after visiting Craig on Tuesday.
“We hold these meetings to ensure the public has an opportunity to have their questions answered — to keep the public involved and engaged,” said Beverly Gorny, public affairs specialist for the BLM. “We recognize that these could be big projects.”
The Energy Gateway South Transmission Project, headed up by the company Rocky Mountain Power, would carry renewable energy from Wyoming to central Utah with an alternating current line. Unlike the TransWest Express Transmission Project, the line’s energy could be accessed at multiple points and has the potential to bring renewable energy to multiple locations.
The TransWest line would take renewable power directly to Nevada and has faced many challenges working with the BLM because of conflicting ideas about where exactly the line should go.
“The main differences are that TransWest Express is a direct current line so there are no on and off ramps. Gateway is an alternating current line so there is the possibilities of substations along the way,” Gorny said. “Gateway South is a regulated public activity and TransWest is not.”
Also different than the TransWest line, it is unlikely that the Gateway South project will skip Moffat County. Both alternative routes the BLM proposed would go through the county: either following Colorado Highway 13 or Sevenmile Ridge, BLM national project manager Tamara Gertsch said.
“The applicant, Rocky Mountain Power, route is very closely aligned to the draft EIS,” Gertsch said. Our goal “was to use designated corridors where we possibly could, and to try and follow existing infrastructure … and if there wasn’t an availability to do those two things, the last thing was to go into areas that weren’t previously disturbed.”
But when going into those areas, the BLM took into consideration historical trails, biological resources and sage grouse habitats, she said.
Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership Interim Director Audrey Danner said the community should continue to have a discussion about what it would mean for the county to have a transmission line coming through.
“Certainly there is an increased demand in energy use and how we provide that is going to take some community discussions on do we support all types of energy development and how will that look in our county?” Danner said.
Since the project still is in the early stages, Rocky Mountain Energy has not yet determined what sort of property taxes their line would bring to the various counties they would be traveling through, said Rocky Mountain Power’s spokesperson Marget Oler. But Oler expressed confidence about how her company and the BLM were working together.
“We’re very pleased to have reached this step in the process,” Oler said.
The BLM’s 90-day comment for the EIS will be up May 22. Residents can contribute their input up until that point. The final decision EIS won’t be released until 2015.
Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.