U.S. agencies including the Bureau of Land Management must revise a plan to designate corridors for oil, natural gas and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission facilities, according to a settlement.
Required revisions to the plan for “West-wide Energy Corridors,” which connect power plants to the electric grid in the western U.S., are described in the settlement between environmental organizations and the federal agencies filed today in federal court in San Francisco.
Future changes to the system of corridors must follow “general principles,” including facilitating renewable energy projects, avoiding environmentally sensitive areas, reducing the number of “rights-of-way” crossings, and improving long term benefits of reliable and safe energy transmission, according to the filing.
The settlement “puts federal agencies and potential developers on notice that certain corridors are no-go areas for environmental reasons,” Nada Culver, a senior director of agency policy and planning at the Wilderness Society, said in a statement. “We should guide power lines and pipelines to the right places, along with advancing better priorities such as supporting renewable energy.”
The settlement stems from a lawsuit groups including the Wilderness Society filed in 2009 claiming the plan violated federal environmental laws, including the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Other agencies in the agreement are the U.S. Forest Service and Department of Energy.
The case is Wilderness Society v. U.S. Department of the Interior, 09-3048, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).