The Bureau of Land Management Southwest District signed a Finding of No Significant Impact and a Decision Record approving amendment to Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association's existing right-of-way grant.
The grant amendment, also offered authorizes Tri-State's upgrade of the Montrose-Nucla-Cahone Transmission Line, which was originally built in 1958. Ground disturbing activities will not occur until the Plan of Development has been approved, all the terms and conditions of authorizations are met, and the BLM and USFS have issued a Notice to Proceed. Tri-State submitted an application to the BLM and US Forest Service (USFS) requesting authorization to rebuild the existing Montrose-Nucla-Cahone (MNC) 115-kV transmission line to a 230-kV line and to operate and maintain the new line and optical ground wire located in Dolores, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties, Colorado. Tri-State is proposing to use an existing 100-foot wide right-of-way (ROW) for the rebuild to the greatest extent possible. The new 230-kV transmission line would require an additional 50 feet of ROW clearing resulting in a total ROW width of 150 feet. Tri-State would primarily use approximately 241 miles of existing roads (not including state highways) currently in use. Approximately 67 miles of these roads consist of down-line access located beneath the existing MNC line. Approximately 6 miles of new access/spur roads would be needed. Tri-State's proposed action includes making upgrades to the existing Cahone and Montrose substations, as well as constructing a new substation near Nucla, Colorado.
The existing 115-kV system extends approximately 80 miles from the Montrose substation west of Montrose, Colorado, to the Nucla substation at the Nucla Power Plant, to the Cahone substation near Dove Creek, Colorado, with portions of the system within Dolores, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. The existing line crosses 34.7 miles of BLM-administered land (consisting of 18.6 miles within the Uncompahgre Field Office and 16.1 miles within the Tres Rios Field Office) and 22.7 miles of USFS land (consisting of 14.6 miles within the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest and 8.1 miles within the San Juan National Forest), with the remaining 22.6 miles on state and private land.