Project impact to be assessed

RBC I The Bureau of Land Management and Western Area Power Administration have issued a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the TransWest Express Transmission (TWE) project — a regional transmission system upgrade that will deliver 3,000 megawatts of clean energy from Wyoming to the Desert Southwest.
Western, a power marketing agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, and BLM are the joint lead agencies working to prepare the EIS, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. The 725-mile proposed route for the TWE project crosses primarily federal land.
The notice of intent (NOI) outlines the roles of Western and BLM as well as provides an overview description of the TWE project, a list of formal cooperating agencies including the U.S. Forest Service, and a list of preliminary issues identified for analysis in the EIS.
Most important, the NOI marks the start of a 90-day public scoping process. The BLM and Western plan to hold 23 open house meetings in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada in various communities in the project area.
“The BLM and Western will solicit public comments regarding issues, concerns and opportunities that should be considered in the analysis of the proposed action,” notes the NOI. “The BLM staff, Western staff and project proponents will be available at the public meetings to explain project details and gather information from interested individuals or groups.”
The NOI for the TWE Project is published in the Jan. 4, 2011, edition of the Federal Register, the official journal of the United States government.
Public scoping open houses are scheduled for northwest Colorado at the end of January, in Utah during January and February, and in Nevada and Wyoming in early March.
The agencies will announce meeting dates, times and locations at least 15 days prior to each event. Meeting announcements and other EIS-related information will be available at:
The BLM website: http://www. blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/HighDesert/transwest.html
The Western website: www. wapa.gov/transmission/TransWestExpress.htm
In addition to the meetings, people can send comments for consideration in the draft EIS by mail and e-mail at TransWest_WYMail@blm.gov. To be considered, comments must be received by April 4, the close of the scoping period.
TransWest Express LLC filed a right-of-way application with BLM for the TWE Project in December 2008. In 2010, Western Area Power Administration began to pursue a 50 percent equity ownership in the TWE Project. Western also assumed responsibilities as joint lead agency for the EIS.
For more information about TransWest Express LLC and the TWE Project, visit www.transwestexpress.net.
For more information about BLM’s programs and goals regarding renewable energy generation and transmission development on federal land, visit http://www.blm.gov/ wo/st/en/prog/energy/renewable_energy.html.
For more information about Western and its programs to develop transmission infrastructure that delivers renewable energy to markets across the West, visit http://www. wapa.gov/recovery/programs.htm.