BLM Reviews comments on proposed $2B power line
The Bureau of Land Management is reviewing comments submitted by hundreds of individuals and groups about a proposed $2 billion high-voltage power line in Wyoming and Idaho.
The proposed Gateway West transmission line by Idaho Power Co. and Rocky Mountain Power would cover some 1,150 miles and carry power generated by wind and other sources in Wyoming.
The BLM received 350 to 400 comments by the Oct. 28 deadline.
The comments varied from being supportive and hopeful it will create jobs to being concerned about its impact on property owners and their views of the skyline, BLM spokeswoman Beverly Gorny said.
"They were what we anticipated for the most part," Gorny said.
The BLM will study the comments and propose a preferred route from among the alternatives offered so far. There will be another comment period before the BLM makes a final decision.
"That won't likely happen until next summer or fall because it takes that long to write the final document taking into consideration these comments," Gorny said.
One of the groups that submitted comments was the Northern Laramie Range Alliance, which includes prominent Wyoming landowners and businesspeople.
They oppose one of the proposed routes through and next to the Laramie Range in southeast Wyoming.
Sharon Rodeman, a landowner and member of the group, said there is a proposed loop that crosses her land even though there is an existing power line corridor that Gateway West could follow.
"It's getting pushed on us because they can't go into the core sage grouse area; they could, but it's not beneficial," Rodeman said.
Sage grouse have suffered severe habitat loss over the last century. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said that the greater sage grouse deserves listing as threatened or endangered but other species in greater peril are in more urgent need of protection.