The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking public comment on the newly released draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission line project.
Clean Line Energy is developing the approximately 700-mile, high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission project, which aims to transmit over 3.5 GW of wind generation from the panhandle region of Oklahoma to customers in Arkansas, Tennessee and other areas in the Mid-South and Southeast.
The draft EIS identifies the proposed location of the transmission line and other project facilities, as well as provides analysis of the potential environmental effects at these locations and alternatives.
Michael Skelly, president of Clean Line Energy, calls the release of the draft EIS an "enormous step" for the project.
"After a multi-year process that involved input from thousands of stakeholders and a tremendous amount of analysis and thought, we are very pleased with the quality and depth of the information presented in the draft EIS," says Skelly. "We appreciate DOE's consideration and independent review of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line and encourage stakeholders to continue to participate in the environmental review process."Â
Steve Patterson, executive director of the Arkansas Advanced Energy Association, adds, "We are pleased that the review process for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line project has passed this crucial stage so that Arkansas and other southeastern states are one step closer to having greater access to low-cost wind energy."
Prior to making a determination whether to participate in the proposed project, the DOE, in consultation with the Southwestern Power Administration, must complete its evaluation of the proposed project, including reviewing the potential environmental impacts pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Other federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, are cooperating with the DOE in the NEPA review.
The release of the draft EIS initiates a 90-day public comment period that is scheduled to conclude in March 2015. The DOE will also host 15 public meetings in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas during January and February.