Increasing electric load growth in the San Juan Basin region of Colorado and New Mexico, in residential, commercial and industrial sectors, has put a strain onthe existing electrical system.
Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) is proposing a new project that would involve the construction of a 230-kilovolt transmission line from the Farmington area in northwest New Mexico to Ignacio, Colorado. This line and supporting electrical facilities are needed to provide the power delivery infrastructure for the San Juan Basin that will relieve transmission constraints, serve new loads and offer economic development through renewable energy opportunities.
Tri-State is requesting right-of-way grants from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) as well as financial assistance from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for their San Juan Basin Energy Connect Project. The Western Area Power Administration (Western) also is a cooperating agency.
Prior to making a decision about whether to approve funding requests or to grant rights-of-way for the proposed project, federal agencies including the BLM, BIA, RUS and Western are required to conduct environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in accordance with federal agency policies and procedures.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and affords the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment. Section 7 requires federal agencies to evaluate impacts to species that are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The BLM is the lead federal agency for NEPA, NHPA, Section 106 and ESA Section 7 review and compliance. The BIA, RUS, Western and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe are cooperating in these processes. Additional agencies may coordinate throughout the life of the project.