Federal Lawmakers Request More Time for Comment Period on Plains & Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) — along with Congressmen Rick Crawford (AR-01), French Hill (AR-02), Steve Womack (AR-03) and Bruce Westerman (AR-04) — today requested that the Department of Energy (DOE) extend the comment period for the need and feasibility review of the Plains& Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project.
In a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, the members request a minimum of 60 additional days for comments citing inadequate communication to let stakeholders know they can submit their input on this project.
“The Department is engaged in a new process that justifies a deliberative and thorough review, with greater transparency and public participation,” the members wrote. “The 45-day comment period has proven inadequate.”
The current comment period is scheduled to end on June 12.
In January, members urged Secretary Moniz to extend the comment period for the environmental review of the project for additional input from stakeholders. The comment period was extended for one month.
The following is the full text of the letter:
Dear Secretary Moniz:
We strongly urge you to extend the comment period regarding the Department of Energy’s Non-NEPA Review for the Plains& Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project by at least 60 days so that our constituents will have an adequate opportunity to share their views and/or concerns.
The current comment period is scheduled to end on June 12, and the opportunity to participate has not been effectively communicated to many impacted stakeholders. Furthermore, the Department has invited public comments on highly complicated issues, such as the project’s technical and financial feasibility and whether the project is in the public interest. The 45-day comment period has proven inadequate.
Also, the Department is engaged in a new process that justifies a deliberative and thorough review, with greater transparency and public participation. Although Section 1222 was enacted a decade ago, the Department has not yet used this authority to design, develop, construct or operate transmission facilities, nor has the Department participated with other entities in doing so. Also, according to the Department, “the purpose of the program is to reduce electric transmission congestion and/or increase electric transmission capacity.” However, the proposed route for the pending application is located in neither a Federal Power Act section 216(a) a designated congestion area nor a national interest electric transmission corridor. Due to these concerns, we strongly believe that the Department has a responsibility to be tremendously thorough, transparent, and deliberative.
Again, we strongly urge you to provide at least a 60-day extension of the comment period on the non-NEPA review for the Plains& Eastern Clean Line Transmission Project, and we ask that you intensify your efforts to keep our offices fully informed as the Department’s review of this project continues.
We look forward to your response, and please let us know any time we can be helpful.
Written comments should be addressed as follows: U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE-20), 1222 Program, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585. Electronic comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Department will make comments available as they are received. Additional information from the Department is available at https://energy.gov/oe/downloads/plains-eastern-clean-line-transmission-line-part-2-application.