New transmission lines and power plants are increasingly needed to maintain reliability and serve competitive regional markets. However, obtaining regulatory approvals for new facilities from federal, state, and local agencies is a complex process, and often leads to costly delays. Multiple government agencies are involved in rights-of-way authorization and related environmental permitting.
States and local governments are likely to be asked to approve transmission facilities that would serve multi-state regional needs--but these facilities are not perceived to primarily benefit their in-state consumers. Each state involved in permitting a new line may have different, even conflicting requirements that force developers to seek multiple permits and approvals. The challenge of locating across federal lands coupled with general public opposition makes the process even more daunting. The siting of new power plants faces similar challenges.
EEI is addressing the need for improving the transmission siting process before the Administration, Congress, and the states. EEI continues to work closely with the White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service to improve transmission siting and permitting through administrative action. EEI also is working with organizations such as the National Governors Association and the Western Governors Association to improve the process for state approvals for transmission lines. EEI is providing member companies with training workshops and manuals for working with the public in the siting of new facilities.
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