The U.S. Department of Energy has extended its public comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project from March 19 to April 20.
The extension announcement was made Thursday by the Federal Register, the same day U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, both Arkansas Republicans, introduced legislation to “restore the right of states” to approve or disapprove of electric transmission projects before the federal government exercises its power to take private property.
The Plains & Eastern Clean Line project is a proposed high-voltage, direct-current transmission line that would carry 3,500 megawatts of wind-power generated electricity from the Oklahoma Panhandle to eastern states. The proposed route would run roughly from west to east across Arkansas north of Interstate 40.
The DOE is holding one of its 15 public hearings on the draft EIS next week in Fort Smith, 5-8 p.m. Wednesday in Exhibit Hall A of the Fort Smith Convention Center.
Comments submitted to the DOE concerning the Plains & Eastern EIS prior to this announcement do not need to be resubmitted as a result of this extension of the comment period. Comments submitted after the close of the comment period will be considered to the extent practicable, the DOE states.
In addition, DOE invites comments on the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 process and any potential adverse impacts to historic properties from the proposed Clean Line project.
DOE has prepared the Draft EIS in consultation with the following cooperating agencies: the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regions 4 and 6, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Crawford County Library in Van Buren has a copy of the Draft EIS in disc form to be reviewed by concerned citizens.
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