The federal government has signed off on the final routes on public land for a 990-mile-long power line across Idaho and Wyoming.
Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power proposed the Gateway West power line in 2007 to run from Glenrock, Wyoming to Melba. Most of the line got the go ahead from the Bureau of Land Management in 2013. But BLM Spokeswoman Heather Feeney says two segments, totaling 125 miles, were held up over concerns about farmland, sage grouse habitat and the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area or NCA.
“Whether we should avoid the NCA area all together or whether we could authorize routes that could cross the NCA but still not interfere with the resources and values the NCA was designated for,” says Feeney they considered.
After studies and public comment, Feeney says the Department of the Interior authorized the BLM to let the power line travel over public land for the last two segments.
The transmission line will deliver 1,500 megawatts, enough power to supply 975,000 homes. The two power companies say the line will help meet increasing customer needs.
Now it’s up to Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power to start building the line, probably in 2019. It will take up to five years to finish the project.
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