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U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service To Hold Meetings on Environmental Impact of New Transmission Lines
Wednesday, April 7, 2010 • Posted April 7, 2010

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) will hold five scoping meetings to gather public comment as it prepares a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) that relates to potential impacts to endangered species habitat that may occur in connection with construction and operation of new transmission lines the LCRA Transmission Services Corporation (LCRA TSC) plans to build in parts of West and Central Texas. The lines are part of Texas’ Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) program to transmit wind power generated in West Texas and the Panhandle to more populated areas.

The scope of the EIS may include portions of Tom Green, Schleicher, Sutton, Mason, Menard, Kimble, Kerr, Kendall, Irion, Gillespie, Llano, Burnet, San Saba and Lampasas counties.

Here is a list of the meetings:

• Monday, April 19: SAN ANGELO

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

La Quinta Inn and Suites - San Angelo Room

2307 Loop 306

San Angelo, Texas 76904

• Wednesday, April 21: COMFORT

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Comfort Park Pavilion

427 Main Street

Comfort, Texas 78013

• Thursday, April 22: JUNCTION

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Coke R. Stevenson Memorial Center

440 North US Hwy 83

Junction, Texas 76849

• Monday, April 26: LAMPASAS

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Holiday House

908 East Fourth Street

Lampasas, Texas 76550

• Tuesday, April 27: FREDERICKSBURG

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Pioneer Pavilion

432 Lady Bird Drive

Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

The primary purpose of the scoping meetings is to receive suggestions and information on the scope of issues and alternatives to consider when drafting the EIS, and to identify significant issues related to the Service’s potential issuance to LCRA TSC of a Section 10(a) incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act.

The Service will accept both written and oral comments at the scoping meetings.

Staff from the Service will be present at the meetings, and court reporters will collect public comment. Comment forms also will be available at the meetings. The Service must receive any written comments by close of business on June 17, 2010.

Send written comments to Field Supervisor, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758-4460; or fax (512) 490-0974; or e-mail Luela_Roberts@fws.gov. Note that your comments concern the LCRA TSC draft EIS.

The official notice of the scoping meetings and public comment period appeared in the Federal Register on March 19, 2010, and may be found by visiting http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-5944.pdf or at 75 Federal Register 13299.

LCRA TSC was awarded four CREZ "priority projects" by the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC) and currently has two of those priority projects – the Gillespie to Newton Project and the Twin Buttes to McCamey D Project — pending at the PUC. The two other priority projects (i.e., the McCamey D to Kendall Project and the Kendall to Gillespie Project) will be filed together in a single request for certification at the PUC on July 6, 2010. The Service’s EIS is not being prepared in connection with the PUC filings. Rather, the Service will prepare an EIS in connection with LCRA TSC’s application for an incidental take permit covering the golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, and potentially other federally-listed species. The federal EIS to be prepared by the Service will include all of the area involved with all of LCRA TSC’s priority lines.

Since May 2009, LCRA TSC has held 18 public open houses on the projects as part of the public participation phase of the PUC’s certification process. More than 3,500 people attended those meetings to give information and to learn about the projects.

As ordered by the PUC, LCRA TSC will build, own, and operate about 600 miles of new and rebuilt existing transmission lines and facilities that will total about $700 million in costs, according to PUC estimates. This is part of a greater estimated $4.9 billion program intended to transmit power produced from wind generators in areas of West Texas and the Panhandle to areas of high energy demand throughout the state.

For more information on line routing, study area maps and more about LCRA TSC’s CREZ-related projects, see http://www.lcra.org/crez.

About LCRA TSC

LCRA Transmission Services Corporation is a nonprofit corporation created by LCRA to build, own, and operate transmission lines and related facilities throughout Texas. LCRA TSC owns and leases about 4,400 miles of transmission lines and other facilities that are part of the state’s electric grid. LCRA TSC pays local and state taxes.

About LCRA

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is a nonprofit conservation and reclamation district that provides energy, water, and community services to Texans. Created by the Texas Legislature in 1934, LCRA has no taxing authority and operates solely on utility revenues and service fees. LCRA supplies electricity to more than 1.1 million Texans through more than 40 wholesale customers. LCRA also provides many other services in the region. These services include managing floods, protecting the quality of the lower Colorado River and its tributaries, providing parks and recreational facilities, offering economic development assistance, operating water and wastewater utilities, and providing soil, energy, and water conservation programs.

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