(Neb)-Public Comment Period Begins On R-Line EIS
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final environmental impact statement on what a 345,000-volt electrical transmission line through the Nebraska Sandhills could mean to habitat for the endangered American burying beetle.
The release Thursday began a 30-day public inspection and comment period, after which the Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to issue a permit that would allow incidental violations of the Endangered Species Act caused by the line.
The burying beetle habitat lies along the 225-mile path of Nebraska Public Power District's R-Project line from the Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland to a new substation near Thedford.
NPPD says the R-line will alleviate congestion, increase reliability, and allow for wind power development by providing a link from wind farms in the region to the electrical grid
Opponents say construction of the R-Line will disrupt wildlife and cultural gems, and that wind farms associated with the proposed line would destroy unspoiled vistas and have potential impacts on a number of wildlife species, especially migrating birds.
State Senator Tom Brewer of Gordon has introduced a bill in the legislature that would bar the use of eminent domain for such projects to cross the property of landowners opposed to them, but the bill would not apply to the R-Line.
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