The federal government has started a regulatory review of a proposed 750-mile transmission line from Oklahoma to Tennessee developed by Clean Line Energy Partners LLC.
The Energy Department on Friday published what's called a “notice of intent” for the Plains and Eastern Clean Line, a high-voltage, direct-current transmission line that would take energy from wind farms in the Oklahoma Panhandle to utilities in Tennessee and the southeast.
The notice in the Federal Register said the department will prepare an environmental-impact statement for the $2 billion project. The Energy Department plans a series of 12 public meetings in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee in January and February to gather public comments on the development.
Clean Line has identified several potential routes for the transmission line and proposed a study corridor from the Oklahoma Panhandle, through the state's northwestern section and continuing to the central part of eastern Oklahoma. The study corridor then continues across northern Arkansas to end near Memphis, Tenn.
The Energy Department will coordinate with other federal, state and tribal departments that regulate environmental, floodplain, wetlands and wildlife issues along the proposed study corridor. Clean Line is paying for the department's regulatory review.
“We think it is a good thing because it allows there to be one overarching process which other agencies we will have to work with, like the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, get input into the process and make sure that what is being studied is going to be useful for the permits that they have to give,” said Mario Hurtado, Clean Line's executive vice president of development.
Clean Line earlier this year hosted its own series of public meetings with landowners and local, state and tribal officials to spread awareness about the proposed route.
The Energy Department said it expects to publish a draft environmental impact statement in fall 2013.
For more information and to submit comments on the project, go to PlainsandEasternEIS.com.