TransWest hearing set for Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Craig | CraigDailyPress.com

TransWest hearing set for Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Craig

Hearing gives landowners, public a chance to address commissioners

Clay Thorp/Craig Press
Wind turbines dot the landscape along Interstate 80 in southern Wyoming. The TransWest Express Transmission Project is slated to deliver wind power from Wyoming to Las Vegas and nearby markets in California and Arizona.
Lauren Blair/File

CRAIG — It has been some nine years since TransWest first proposed a winding transmission line to carry wind-generated energy across Wyoming, Moffat County, Utah, and Nevada.

The massive proposed electric infrastructure project bringing 3,000 megawatts through the area could be one step closer to reality after a public hearing at the Moffat County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 8.

The hearing will begin at the same time as the Craig City Council meeting down the street — 6:30 p.m. — and will primarily address the conditional use permit application for the project, according to an ad placed in the Craig Press on Wednesday.

A portion of the proposed transmission line will cross through Moffat County, according to TransWest’s website.

The TransWest Express Transmission Project is “critical new infrastructure that will deliver electricity generated by renewable resources and will strengthen the power grid that serves the Western United States,” according to TransWest Express LLC’s website.

In December 2016, The Bureau of Land Management sought to regulate some of the inventoried federal lands underneath the proposed transmission line. Moffat County later objected in a December letter to the BLM’s board of directors, arguing that BLM does not have the authority to require mitigation in these lands, because, though they have been inventoried as Lands with Wilderness Characteristics, the areas have not undergone the BLM’s land use planning process.

Jerry Hoberg, Moffat County’s planner and airport manager, said even if TransWest’s conditional use permit is approved by county commissioners, TransWest will still have to secure agreements with a host of private landowners before construction of the transmission line can begin.

“If they don’t get property owners approval, the conditional use permit won’t mean anything,” Hoberg said Thursday.

At least 370 notices were sent by Moffat County to landowners adjacent to or on the proposed transmission line route, and many of those landowners have been in talks with TransWest on the purchasing of easements for construction and maintenance, according to Hoberg.

“They’re working on those agreements as we speak,” Hoberg said.

If the conditional use permit is approved Tuesday, it will be at least another year before TransWest hopes to begin construction in 2020, with a proposed completion slated for 2022.

The project will have an estimated economic impact in Moffat County of at least $70 million over the transmission line’s 50-year lifespan.

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck contributed to this report. Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or cthorp@craigdailypress.com.



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