Home » News

Company Adds a new option for the controversial power line

19 September 2009 1,013 views No Comment

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) ― Local landowners and the Wyoming governor’s office are taking a cautious approach to the introduction of new potential routes for the Gateway West transmission line.

Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power held meetings in Wheatland, Medicine Bow, Laramie and Douglas this week to present new “conceptual alternatives” for part of the proposed line.

The utilities have proposed building the $2 billion, 1,150-mile line to carry wind and fossil-fuel power to their customers in Wyoming, Idaho and other western states. They hope to complete the project by 2014.

The companies delayed their siting process in July to try to settle issues raised by landowners and local governments along the route in Wyoming and Idaho.

“I think this new map and the additional conceptual alternative routes is proof that the companies are listening to what residents and other stakeholders in this area have been saying,” Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Jeff Hymas said Friday.

The proposed line would cross federal, state and private land. It would start in Glenrock and cross southern Wyoming and southern Idaho to a substation near Murphy, Idaho. Developers plan to construct new 230-kilovolt and 500-kilovolt lines, depending on the segment.

In Wyoming, two possible routes that cut across the northern Laramie Range prompted opposition among local landowners, who formed the Northern Laramie Range Alliance to push development away from the mountains. In August, Rocky Mountain Power President Richard Walje said the company would find another alignment for the disputed segment.

The new conceptual alternatives would skirt the northern Laramie Range to the west or east from Glenrock down to the Medicine Bow area.

Members of the Northern Laramie Range Alliance said Friday that the group had not yet formed a position on the new alternatives.

Alliance member Diemer True, who owns a ranch in the northern Laramies, said he was encouraged that the developers are willing to look at new options. But he said the new proposed eastern route still cuts across scenic, mountainous country with multiple uses — the kind of territory the group formed to protect.

Hymas said the utilities’ current plan is to build two new 230-kilovolt lines and upgrade an existing line that already runs west of the mountains between substations near Glenrock and Medicine Bow.

The companies are looking at putting one of the new lines in the existing corridor with the upgraded line, while developing a new route for the third line.

Ryan Lance, deputy chief of staff to Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal, said the governor’s office has begun to hear from landowners opposed to a line along the eastern foothills of the northern Laramies. The governor’s office believes all of Gateway West should be built within the existing corridor, rather than crisscrossing the region, he said.

“We’re going to do enough of that in this state. We’re trying to pick our battles strategically,” Lance said. “We know we have to have the transmission capacity, and it serves a lot of interests in this state, but we’re going to be at this for some time. If we can maintain our course forward in existing corridors, where we know existing development has been and we know the impacts, then that’s our preference at this point.”

The Bureau of Land Management is expected to issue a draft environmental impact statement, including a preferred route, next spring.

___

On the Net: Gateway West, http://www.gatewaywestproject.com/default.aspx
(© 2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...

Comments are closed.