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Gateway West Transmission Line route approved

Published On: Nov 12 2013 02:58:25 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 12 2013 03:39:55 PM CST

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has given final approval to the route of the proposed 990-mile high-voltage Gateway West Transmission Line project.  A final record of decision is to be published Thursday.

The 1,500 megawatt line will transmit electricity through southern Wyoming and southern Idaho.  It will begin near Glenrock, Wyo., and end at the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho, about 20 miles southwest of Boise.  It is primarily intended to move Wyoming wind power to larger electricity markets.

The route was designed to use existing transmission corridors and avoid sensitive landscapes, such as Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, Wilderness Study Areas, and crucial wildlife habitat, including sage-grouse core areas.

Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power proposed the line as 10 segments. The Bureau of Land Management has approved eight of the segments.  Segments 8 and 9, between Mountain Home and Burley, were deferred until BLM can conduct additional stakeholder outreach and public engagement.

In a news release, Jewell said the Gateway West project was part of President Obama's infrastructure initiative. 

"The line will strengthen the Western grid," said Jewell, "bringing a diversified portfolio of renewable and conventional energy to meet the region's projected growth in electricity demand."