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BLM to Analyze Potential Changes to West-Wide Energy Corridors to Speed Transmission Deployment

The Bureau of Land Management on Nov. 30 announced that it will begin assessing targeted updates to energy corridors across the West in order to help speed deployment of transmission infrastructure.

“The analysis will examine potential changes to the designations that could strengthen energy security, promote renewable energy development in the West, improve reliability, relieve congestion, and enhance the capability of the national grid to deliver electricity,” BLM said.

Approximately 673 miles of seven designated energy corridors may potentially be modified.

The BLM will use a $1.2 million investment from the Inflation Reduction Act to support this effort.

The corridors, known as West-wide energy or Section 368 corridors, stretch across Western states.

Making revisions to the corridors, originally designated in 2009, “requires interstate coordination and national-level planning to be implemented efficiently and effectively,” BLM said.

BLM began internal planning for this effort using BLM’s Regional Review Final Report. The seven prioritized, specific energy corridors will affect 19 resource management plans across Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

In January 2009, the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service issued land-use planning decisions designating approximately 6,000 miles of West-wide energy corridors, consistent with the direction in Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005

These designations are intended to serve as preferred locations on federally managed lands for the siting of electric transmission and distribution lines and pipelines, including hydrogen pipelines.

As part of a settlement to resolve a lawsuit challenging the corridor designation decisions, the BLM and Forest Service agreed to review and consider recommendations for revisions, deletions, and additions of the corridors.

The BLM’s current planning effort will evaluate the recommendations to modify some of the designated West-wide corridors, in part to ensure avoidance of significant known resource and environmental conflicts. The project’s total cost is $1.9 million.

The BLM will hold four in-person and two virtual public scoping meetings to collect comments and local input.

In-Person Meetings will be held on:

  • January 9, 2024 – Cedar City, UT
  • January 10, 2024 – Laughlin, NV
  • January 11, 2024 – Phoenix, AZ
  • January 17, 2024 – Craig, CO

Virtual meetings will be held on Jan. 9 and Jan. 18.

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