HINES - Four public scoping meetings to discuss the proposed construction of a transmission line in the north Steens Mountain area are set for the end of July in Diamond, Frenchglen, Burns, and Bend.

The proposed 29-mile long transmission line would cross Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and private lands.

Echanis LLC recently applied for a right-of-way with the BLM to construct the 230-kilovolt line that would ultimately be used to convey power generated from wind farms proposed for development by parent-company Columbia Energy Partners LLC on the north side of Steens Mountain.

In the open houses people will be able to review maps of the proposed transmission line location, suggest alternatives and discuss issues with BLM and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge resource specialists and Echanis officials.

The meetings are set for: Tuesday, July 21, 1-3 p.m. at the Diamond School in Diamond, and 6-8 p.m. at the Frenchglen School in Frenchglen; Wednesday, July 22, 6-8 p.m. at the Harney County Community Center in Burns, and Thursday, July 23, 6-9 p.m. at the Phoenix Inn in Bend.

Comments can be submitted in writing at the meetings; by mail to North Steens Transmission Line Project Lead, Burns District BLM, 28910 Highway 20 W., Hines, OR 97738; by fax to 541-573-4411; or e-mail to:

(OR_Burns_NS_Transmission_Line_EIS@blm.gov)

The comments will be used to focus the environmental analysis of the proposed transmission line construction and will be accepted for 30 days after the project's official Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement is printed in the Federal Register.

Publication of the Notice of Intent is anticipated sometime within the next two weeks.

For more information, or to have your name added to the North Steens Transmission Line Project mailing list, call: 541-573-4443.

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