I recently attended a wind power meeting about a new wind farm. The interesting part of this proposal was that the wind farm was going to have a tie in with the 500 KV lines that runs through our ranch. This caught my ear.
I was in on the original negotiations in 1980 with Montana Power. My mother, Mary McFarland White, disliked the power lines and what they stood for and never missed her chance to express a very negative opinion of Colstrip 3 and 4 and the twin power lines. When you talk about coal in this time frame, the Northern Plains Resource Council was involved. They pushed very hard against all coal related stuff. They made sure that the EIS tied Units 3 and 4 to the twin 500 KV lines and that the easement was very tight.
One of the reasons for this was because there was talk of more units at Colstrip and they did not want the power company to expand the easement to anything but 3 and 4 power. During this era, I became familiar with the EIS (over 800 pages) that was behind the easement.
In short, I believe the twin 500 KV lines were built to serve Colstrip coal power only. This means is any other use of the 500 KV lines is an expansion of the original easement. Another substation would also be an expansion of use. This means that the easement would have to be renegotiated with all landowners.
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