GREEN RIVER -- Federal officials have postponed the release of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Gateway West Transmission Line Project.
Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Bev Gorny said the agency's environmental study for the project will be released during the last quarter of the year.
The draft EIS had been scheduled for release late this summer.
Gorny said BLM officials delayed the release of the document in order to address comments received during the internal administrative review process, as well as to clarify management objectives related to sage grouse and visual and other public resources.
"We continue to work to ensure that the draft EIS addresses the key issues throughout the project area and want to ensure adequate time to prepare this important document," BLM project manager Walt George said in a media release.
Gorny said once the draft is released, the BLM will begin a 90-day public comment period and will hold formal public hearings to gather comments.
The Gateway West transmission line project is a joint effort between Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power.
The companies plan to construct nearly 1,150 miles of high voltage transmission lines across southern Wyoming and southern Idaho.
The line would begin at the proposed Windstar substation near the Dave Johnston Power Plant at Glenrock and would end at the Hemingway substation near Melba, Idaho, about 20 miles south of Boise, Idaho.
The proposed project is composed of 11 transmission line segments and crosses about 500 miles of public lands managed by the BLM, including about 200 miles in Wyoming.
The companies have applied to the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service for right-of-way grants to construct and operate the 230- and 500-kilovolt transmission lines.
The BLM is currently analyzing several proposed routes for the line as it runs across southwest Wyoming.
One northern route under consideration would follow the existing transmission line corridor from the Bridger Power Plant near Rock Springs in Sweetwater County to the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.
From there, about 26 miles of the route moves north of Kemmerer and Opal in Lincoln County, then across Commissary Ridge and down into Cokeville.
The route drew the ire of many county residents during a town meeting with Gov. Dave Freudenthal on June 17 in Kemmerer.
Opponents of the northern route believe the $2 billion project will cut a disruptive path through too much private land on Commissary Ridge, a popular summer and second-home area for many southwest Wyoming residents.
The agency is expected to unveil its preferred route for the project in the draft EIS.
Contact southwest Wyoming bureau reporter Jeff Gearino at (307) 875-5359 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Web
The proposed routes that are under Bureau of Land Management study can be viewed on the agency's website at www.wy.blm.gov.