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Estes-Flatiron project engages local citizens in environmental review

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​Oct. 2, 2014
Photo and article by Jen Neville

In Estes Park and Loveland, people interested in the Estes-to-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project attended drop-in learning sessions to learn more about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, or Draft EIS for short, which was released Sept. 19.

The project will upgrade two 115-kilovolt transmission lines that transfer power between Flatiron Reservoir and Estes Park in Larimer County, which were built in the 1930s and 1950s. Western Area Power Administration is presenting several alternatives for upgrading the two lines that have a combined total mileage of about 32 miles. The agency is considering different routing and structure alternatives.

Western representatives brought maps, visual simulations and copies of the Draft EIS to the sessions, Sept. 23 and 24. The representatives were available to talk about the project and answer participants’ questions.

The Draft EIS incorporates the comments and concerns that Western heard during scoping meetings and routing workshops. It details the potential adverse impacts the different project alternatives would have on the area and proposes mitigating measures. Impacts identified during scoping include new rights-of-way acquisition and road construction, as well as impacts on private property, viewsheds, protected areas, recreation and existing infrastructure.

“The document covers a lot of ground: all the various natural resources, the different alternatives we evaluated with public input, the impacts of each of the alternatives, visual simulations to show how the different options would look and all the comments and responses from the scoping period and routing workshops,” said Western National Environmental Policy Act Document Manager Mark Wieringa. “We wanted to be available to show people where the information they are looking for is in the Draft EIS and answer questions about the findings before the formal public hearings at the end of next month.”

The Draft EIS does not include an agency preferred alternative. “Western has not chosen a preferred alternative yet,” said Wieringa. “We wanted to get the public’s comments on the additional routes before we decided on the preferred alternative.”

What’s next

Western will continue to collect public comments on the Draft EIS through Nov. 14. The U.S. Forest Service is a cooperating agency for the project, and will also review the comments and issue a decision.

The agencies will hold an open house and public hearing at two locations Oct. 29 and 30. During the open house attendees can ask questions on the findings of the Draft EIS. A court reporter and sign-in sheet will be provided for individuals wanting to formally verbalize their comments at the public hearing. The hearings will be at the following locations:

Loveland - Rialto Theater
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014
Open House: 4:30-6 p.m., Hearing: 6 p.m.
228 East 4th Street
Loveland, CO

Estes Park - Estes Park Conference Center
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014
Open House: 4:30-6 p.m., Hearing: 6 p.m.
101 South St. Vrain
Estes Park, CO

After the hearings conclude, agency representatives will again be available to answer any questions in an open-house setting.

Share your thoughts on the document

Send your comments on the Draft EIS for the Estes-to-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project by Nov. 14. The original Nov. 3 deadline has been extended past initial 45-day comment period to allow more time for comments after the public hearings.

Remember, the environmental review process is not a voting exercise; your comments will be more effective if they support the analysis or provide additional considerations not covered in the analysis, rather than just expressing a preference. More suggestions for making meaningful comments are available in the drop-in session fact sheet on the project webpage at:

Western hosted informal learning sessions, Oct. 23 & 24, 2014, to help people interested in the Estes-to-Flatiron Transmission Lines Rebuild Project learn more about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that was released Sept. 19, 2014. Check out more photos at the Flickr collection.

Page Last Updated: 7/14/2015 6:56 AM