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Arkansas delegation seeks more public comment time for Clean Line project

The Arkansas congressional delegation is weighing in on the controversial Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project.

The delegation on Friday sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz seeking more time for the public to comment on the environmental impact of the proposed $2 billion, 700-mile, high-voltage transmission line through Oklahoma and Arkansas to Tennessee.

“We understand the importance of infrastructure projects, including properly-sited transmission lines, but we also believe that potentially-impacted landowners and citizens must be treated fairly and they must have every opportunity to eliminate or minimize impacts before projects are considered. In short, private property rights must be protected. Accordingly, we request that you provide at least a 60-day extension of the comment period for the Draft EIS and Section 106 process on the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project,” the letter states.

The project is proposed to deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to utilities and customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets in the Mid-South and Southeast.

The Department of Energy has issued a draft of its Environmental Impact Statement that is now available for public comment. The draft runs about 3,700 pages.

The letter was signed by Sens. John Boozman, R-Ark., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Reps. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, French Hill, R-Little Rock, Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, and Steve Womack, R-Rogers. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., also signed the letter.

The Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma recently joined a growing list of government entities to pass resolutions against the construction of the project.