MUSKOGEE, Okla. — A company is considering alternative routes for a proposed $2 billion transmission line following concerns by property owners and officials in several states where the line would cross.
The transmission line project by Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston has been in the works since 2010 and would carry wind-generated electricity from the Oklahoma Panhandle to Tennessee, the Muskogee Phoenix reports.
Several landowners had objected to the use of eminent domain to secure access and easements, while wildlife officials in Arkansas and Oklahoma cited concerns about sensitive watershed areas and habitats that could be harmed by construction if precautions weren’t taken.
But the State Chamber of Oklahoma favors the project, describing it as “an important part of the state’s efforts to continue its booming economy.” The chamber contends that it would create thousands of new jobs in the electric power sector and spur additional jobs in other industries, including construction, maintenance, manufacturing and hospitality.
The comments come in response to a public comment period that ended last month on the draft environmental impact statement prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, the regulatory agency that must grant final approval.
Clean Line representatives say the alternate routes suggested as part of a final environmental impact statement would avoid areas “where new information indicated” the existence of potential conflicts. They cited as examples “previously unknown residences or structures” and “environmentally or culturally sensitive areas.”
Executive Vice President Mario Hurtado said variations in the proposed route are minor and not expected to add to the $2 billion cost of the project.
“These are refinements we are making to the proposed route based upon the comments and requests we have gotten from landowners since we originally did this routing,” Hurtado said. “Obviously things change as there is new information, and we wanted to make sure that we are making adjustments to the route, especially when landowners came to us and suggested ways it could be changed to lessen the impact to their property.”
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