Discussing what both has learned about the proposed Transwest Express Transmission Project, County Planning Director Cory Lytle and N4 Grazing Board secretary Connie Simkins recommended to Lincoln County Commissioners Sept. 16, they should send a  letter of approval to the BLM Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the project. The BLM comment gathering period ends Sept. 30.

Lytle said he thinks the best route would be what is called the Barclay Route, which only covers about 25 miles of BLM land within the County.

“There are only 23 grazing operations effected on that route,” he said. That is also part of the BLM’s preferred alternative route to what Transwest Express had first submitted.

“We were trying to give them (BLM) a route we would choose,” Lytle said. Another, shorter section, that just clips the southeast corner of Lincoln County could also be supported, Lytle said. There are no effected grazing operators there.

In Utah, the agency preferred alternative would also bypass the Mountain Meadows Massacre National Historical Site.

Of other things that were to be specified in the comment letter to BLM, one was the requirement for contractors to get the necessary County special use permits from the Planning Commission, and hold consultations with the County Commission Board.

The same process was followed with the NV Energy project which is now coming to a close. “It will be a similar process,” said Lytle.

Simkins said specific wording also needs to be put into the final draft document, “that the cattlemen need a seat at the table from beginning to end.”

She said she was told by Western Area Power Administration officials, “to ask the BLM to make a stipulation in the Record of Decision that Transwest Express must confer with the County and the grazing operators.”

The project would be required to follow whatever stipulations are requested, Simkins stated. “If they are a good operator, like NV Energy has been, and do what they say they are going to do and work with the ranchers, that will be fine.”

However she emphasized the recommendations do not have to be followed unless they are made as stipulations, hence the reason for having them included in the Record of Decision.

Lytle added such stipulations can also be required in order to issue a special use permit in order to do work in the County, “even on federal land, because our federal land is legally zoned within the county,” he said.