Trees and Superman Belong Overhead—Does Electricity?
The Gateway West transmission line is eleven hundred miles of new power line to comprehend—ICL breaks it down and ends up with one big question.
The Gateway West transmission project is all over the news, and it's a doozer and a snoozer. Eleven hundred miles of power lines, thousands of pages of environmental documents. What does it all mean and is it a good idea?
ICL forged through it all last month alongside folks in Wyoming and DC via cyberspace, poring over maps and documents to lead a coherent national response from conservation groups.
Our primary conclusion? The public deserves a lot better information from the BLM and the power companies before we can weigh in. The BLM hasn't yet created a plan for the power companies to do wildlife habitat restoration, or even finished reporting how wildlife will be affected. Owyhee County tells us their routing suggestions turned up skewed in the documents.
We sent a letter to the BLM pointing out the missing pieces, and suggested they start a community and wildlife review such as this one in eastern Idaho. We also sent a 67-page comment letter and hundreds of pages of wildlife references and good ideas from other projects.
In the meantime, we're back to the basic question of whether a new cross-state transmission line is a good idea. Thousands of miles of transmission lines have impacts, on wildlife habitat and on human communities. What if, instead, we save energy that we now waste, use our existing buildings to hold solar panels, and bring the heat of the earth up into our homes and businesses? Could we avoid the expense and impacts of giant new transmission lines overhead? We've told the BLM that they need to answer these questions before building new projects on our public lands. We'll keep asking.