The U.S. Department of Energy has released the draft environmental impact statement for a proposed $2 billion power transmission project to bring wind energy from western Oklahoma to Tennessee.
Project developer Clean Line Energy Partners LP announced Monday that its Plains & Eastern Clean Line took a major step forward with the draft impact statement. The final statement should be completed sometime in 2015.
Clean Line system will pass through a portion of northeastern Oklahoma on its route. The company will hold public meetings in Oklahoma and the other affected states in time for the March 2015 conclusion of the comment period.
Once the final environmental impact statement is issued, Clean Line hopes to begin work and complete the 700-mile power-line system by 2018.
“After a multiyear process that involved input from thousands of stakeholders and a tremendous amount of analysis and thought, we are very pleased with the quality and depth of the information presented in the Draft EIS,” Clean Line President Michael Skelly said in a statement.
“The Plains & Eastern Clean Line will provide meaningful and substantial public benefits,” Skelly added. “Clean Line recognizes that major infrastructure projects must be carefully planned and permitted. We are committed to continuing to work with landowners and all other stakeholders to minimize impacts of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line.”
Once completed, Clean Line hopes to deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind power to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The project will create thousands of temporary construction jobs and permanent maintenance jobs, as well as royalties for stakeholders in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.
The Clean Line already has gained Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval to sell transmission service to customers at negotiated rates and to negotiate agreements for 100 percent of the line’s capacity.
The proposed 600-kilovolt direct-current line also has had its detractors. Some critics are worried about the impact on nearby bird populations, health issues and impacts on property values, among others.
Clean Line will answer more of those questions when its next round of public meetings is held in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Tennessee. Those meetings run from Jan. 26 until Feb. 19.
The first Oklahoma meeting will be Jan. 26 in Woodward. The rest of the state meetings will be Jan. 27 in Guymon; Jan. 28, Beaver; Feb. 2, Muskogee; Feb. 3, Cushing; Feb. 4, Stillwater; and Feb. 5 in Enid.
All of the public meetings begin with an open house from 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The project presentation starts after that, with the public comment period running from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night.
See the project’s website – plainsandeasterncleanline.com – for more information about the route and other details.
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