Siting and Planning Studies

Tri-State undertakes a thorough and transparent siting process for new projects that feeds into the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) federal review process. The siting and environmental processes meet or exceed local, state and federal compliance requirements.

Macro Corridor Study

The Macro Corridor Study for the San Juan Basin Energy Connect was completed in May 2009 and identified preliminary alternative transmission line corridors. The preliminary corridor development process was divided into four distinct steps:

1. Definition of the Study Area
2. Resource Data Collection and Evaluation
3. Opportunities and Constraints Analysis
4. Corridor Identification

Preliminary corridors are identified based on an evaluation of opportunities and constraints gathered from existing land use and environmental data. Preliminary corridors are typically made up of segments that are a minimum of one-mile wide and allow for flexibility in future identification of a preferred and alternative route(s), while minimizing impacts to resources. The document describes the corridor identification process in more detail, including a description of identified opportunity and constraints for a project area.

Route Identification and Refinement Process

The route identification process used for this project was designed to balance environment, public input, economics, land use, and engineering needs. It accounts for regulatory requirements including the National Environmental Policy Act and preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and other environmental regulations such as the endangered species act, the national historic preservation act, the clean water act, and the migratory bird treaty act.

The Macro Corridors that were identified in 2009 have since been modified based on information received from residents and stakeholders during public scoping in October 2009, route refinement workshops in September 2010, and as a result of multiple field reconnaissance trips and meetings with agencies between April 2010 and December 2010. View the latest Corridor Callout map. After the corridors were refined (modified, added, or deleted), preliminary route options within the mile-wide corridors were identified. The route options were then evaluated through a comparative analysis process and preliminary preferred and alternative routes were identified within narrower 0.25 mile wide corridors. The route refinement report documents the process used to develop route alternatives for the project from the Macro Corridor phase to the identification of the preliminary preferred and alternative routes proposed for consideration in the EIS that will be prepared by the BLM under NEPA guidelines.

Read more about the environmental review process

Project Benefits

The proposed project would:

  • Improve the power delivery infrastructure to Colorado and New Mexico's San Juan Basin
  • Increase the load serving capabilities for residential, small business, and industrial electric consumers (including oil and gas developers)
  • Relieve transmission constraints for the region
  • Provide a pathway for potential renewable energy development
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