BLM asking for public feedback on proposed power line
January 25, 2011
If you go
What: Public comment meeting on TransWest Express power line
When: 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Moffat County School District Administrative building, 775 Yampa Ave.
— BLM officials encourage residents and landowners to attend the meeting and provide feedback for an environmental impact statement on the proposed line, which could run through portions of Moffat County
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public feedback on a proposal to build a high-voltage power line, which could run through portions of Moffat County.
The BLM hopes to include residents' comments in an environmental impact statement concerning construction of the 600-kilovolt, direct current TransWest Express transmission line, which is proposed to run through Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, according to a news release from the agency.
BLM officials will host a public meeting on the project from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Moffat County School District Administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.
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 the release.
Beverly Gorny, BLM public affairs specialist, said TransWest's proposed corridor and several of the alternative routes for the power line run through Moffat County.
The proposed project includes two AC/DC converter stations, a fiber optic network communications system and two ground electrode facilities.
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.
Gorny encouraged landowners and residents to attend Wednesday's meeting.
"If I had private land near the vicinity where these towers were going to be, and where the line is going to traverse, I would certainly want to come out and have an opportunity to hear what the plans are and have my voice heard," she said.
The BLM, Gorny said, wants to work with the public, hear their concerns and have residents "tell us if we are on the right track."
"We are now taking this to the ground," she said. "We have been looking at this by studying maps, studying reports … looking at what the issues are, but certainly we haven't taken it to the public."
The Craig meeting is one of 23 meetings scheduled in places close to the route of the proposed power line, all of which are part of a 90-day public scoping period, Gorny said.
The scoping period is part of the process the BLM must undergo to draft an environmental impact statement, which it will use to determine where the power line should run.
That process could take up to a year or longer, depending on the information the BLM gathers, Gorny said.
However, Gorny said comments from residents have potential to influence the path of the power line during the "detailed and lengthy process."
"What we do is we collect all of that information and look at every single comment and make sure that we address every single comment and study that information that is new scientific information, or something we simply didn't know," she said.
If the BLM approves the project and determines a location for the power line, TransWest would still need approval from other agencies, and need to secure state and county permits, which could take several years, Gorny said.
The environmental impact statement will look at various area concerns including biological, cultural, visual, land use, economic, water, and soil issues, Gorny said.
One of the key elements Gorny said residents should be aware of is the visual impact of the line to the area.
"If those lines end up coming through their particular private land area, they are going to be seeing those for a very long time," she said. "They are certainly not small structures — they can be the equivalent to 10- and 12-story buildings in their height."
Other potential impacts from the lines include soil and ground impacts from the towers, which could set about 900 to 1,500 feet apart, access roads being built so the lines can be maintained, and possible impacts to the winter range and migration of big game, Gorny said.
"Clearly, decisions we make on BLM-administered land impacts non-BLM-administered lands," Gorny said. "That's why we very much want to hear information from the public on specific data they may have that we have missed (like) specific information on, 'Gosh, if the line goes here, it's going to go right through the middle of this special area, whereas if the line goes over there, it avoids it.'"
Gorny said the BLM would also work to address concerns about the power line's proximity to greater sage grouse populations.
"We are very cognizant of the potential impacts to sage grouse strutting areas as well as their leks," she said.
Residents can submit comments to the BLM in several ways, including in person at their various meetings, by e-mailing TransWest_WYMail@blm.gov, 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 http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/transwest.html.