The Arkansas congressional delegation on Tuesday officially asked the Department of Energy to extend the comment period for the feasibility review of the proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project that would run across Arkansas.
[Update: On Thursday, the Department of Energy extended the comment period deadline to July 13.]
Submitting the letter were U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton and U.S. Reps. Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman, all Republicans.
Joining them in submitting the request to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz was Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
A copy of the letter is available here.
The current comment period is scheduled to end Friday. The letter requests that the public comment period be extended by 60 days. It cites inadequate communication to let stakeholders know they can submit input on the project.
Public meetings were held at six Arkansas towns and cities earlier this year.
“The department is engaged in a new process that justifies a deliberative and thorough review, with greater transparency and public participation,” the letter said. “The 45-day comment period has proven inadequate.”
The proposed Plains & Eastern Clean Line from Clean Line Energy Partners would be a $2 billion, 720-mile transmission line aiming to deliver more than 4,000 megawatts of wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to customers in Tennessee and Arkansas.
It would enter the state near Fort Smith in Sebastian County and leave it in southern Mississippi County, tracking a path across north central Arkansas.
The following is a statement provided to Arkansas Business from Mario Hurtado, Clean Line’s executive vice presidentm, about the extension:
Clean Line appreciates that major infrastructure projects like the Plains & Eastern Clean Line should follow processes that allow for substantive public input. To date, over the past 6 months, more than 3,000 comments have been submitted to the Department of Energy about the Plains & Eastern Clean Line. We are aware of the extension of the comment period and will continue to work with Senator Boozman, Senator Cotton, other members of the Arkansas federal delegation, state leadership, and the people of Arkansas to follow the appropriate processes that ensure a fair hearing for all involved. The Plains & Eastern Clean Line is a pro-jobs, pro-consumer, pro-environment energy infrastructure project that will modernize America’s grid and benefit the public by ensuring jobs for our future and delivering affordable and reliable clean energy.
Earlier this month, a French manufacturer announced plans to build a plant in West Memphis to serve the line.
In January, members of Congress urged Moniz to extend the comment period for the environmental review of the project for additional input from stakeholders. The comment period was extended for one month.
Written and electronic comments about the project can be submitted. Letters should be addressed as follows: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), 1222 Program, 1000 Independence Ave. SW., Washington, DC 20585.
E-mails can be sent to email@example.com.
More information on the project is available here.