FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2012
CONTACT: Lisa Meiman or Randy Wilkerson, 970-962-7050, CORPCOMM@wapa.gov
MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS PLANNED FOR ESTES-FLATIRON REBUILD
LAKEWOOD, Colo. – The Western Area Power Administration has decided to analyze the environmental impacts of the proposed Estes Park-to-Flatiron Reservoir 115-kilovolt transmission line rebuild project in Larimer County, Colo., through an environmental impact statement rather than an environmental assessment.
Western proposes to upgrade and co-locate two aging transmission lines in the area onto one right of way. Upgrading these lines is necessary to comply with safety standards; ensure reliable and cost effective electricity in Estes Park, Loveland and along the Front Range; and provide accessibility for maintenance and emergencies.
The lines in question are essential for the delivery of power to the Town of Estes from a variety of generation sources along the Front Range.
Before any project begins, Western conducts an environmental review on its proposals. Normally, the first step in an EA is the public scoping process, which allows the public and other agencies to learn of the proposal and inform Western of their issues and concerns.
Western received many written and oral comments from the public and agencies on the project during the EA scoping period from November 2011 through January 2012. The public expressed several concerns regarding the environmental impacts of the proposal, and some of the stakeholders requested evaluating additional route alternatives. Therefore, Western determined that an EIS is the more appropriate level of National Environmental Policy Act review.
An EIS is a more detailed and thorough evaluation of a proposed action and alternatives than an EA. All comments received during the EA scoping period will be carried through to the EIS scoping process and be addressed in the draft EIS.
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest will also be a cooperating agency on the EIS.
Currently, Western has not determined the dates for the EIS scoping comment period and meetings. Western will initiate the public EIS scoping process through a Notice of Intent to Prepare an EIS, which is published in the Federal Register. EIS scoping meetings will be announced at least 15 days prior to each meeting through local news media, newsletters and posting on the Western website at http://ww2.wapa.gov/sites/western/transmission/infrastruct/Pages/Estes-Flatiron.aspx. No action will be taken on the project proposal until after the final EIS is completed, although routine maintenance will continue.
For more information on the project, visit http://ww2.wapa.gov/sites/western/transmission/infrastruct/Pages/Estes-Flatiron.aspx. To learn more about NEPA’s environmental processes, visit http://energy.gov/nepa/office-nepa-policy-and-compliance.