Last week there was a large info dump from the DOE. Environmental Impact Statements are rolling through the Dept. of Energy’s Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, one for the Plains & Eastern Clean Line (see BLOCK Clean Line) and its ; another for the Great Northern Transmission Line (see Not-so-Great Northern Transmission Line)  They’re in different departments at this office, “Clean Line” is a “Section 1222” review and the “Not-so-Great Northern” is a Presidential Permit application.

Here’s the Record of Decision schedule (click for larger version):


And the full DOE EIS schedule (they’ve not yet released the November schedule):

Key EIS Chart – October 2015

  • Record of Decision expected 1/16/2016.  The Clean Line project has no associated state permitting and review process, because the applicant was rejected by the State of Arkansas as a utility, and because they’re not a utility, they’re not eligible for a state permit.  To make things more complicated, the Section 1222 review is something new, there are no rules, and it’s a financing law, and that is all (though Clean Line wants it to be so much more!).  The DOE held scoping meetings and hearings in Texas and Tennessee, and in multiple locations across Oklahoma and Arkansas, but these were only about environmental review, and not the Section 1222 issues or anything else.  They’ve not scheduled hearings, there’s no evidentiary hearing, nothing, despite a specific request.  Comment letters are in Appendix Q, and there are THREE of them!   They listed on the comments the FEIS sections where comments are addressed.  What a pain to go back and forth, where the sections are not clearly identified on the links.
  • Record of Decision “uncertain.”  What does that mean?  The “Not-so-Great” Northern Transmission Project is before the DOE because the applicants Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro (in the U.S., it’s just Minnesota Power, doing the lifting for both) have applied for a Presidential Permit, essentially permission to market power between Canada and the US.  In tandem with this DOE Presidential Permit, MP has applied for a state Certificate of Need and Routing Permit.  Hearings are over, briefs are in (there are NO intervenors in this docket), and now we’re waiting for the ALJ Recommendation.  Then exceptions to the Recommendation, and on the the PUC.  that’s probably why the RoD date is “uncertain,” because there’s the state agency that they’re dealing with.

So there are procedural differences, timing differences.  But it sure is a lot to wade through.  Plus the PolyMet FEIS just came out.