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Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 11 October 2011 13:58

By Johnathan Hladik, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

Here at the Center for Rural Affairs we talk a lot about clean energy transmission. We’ve long recognized that improved transmission infrastructure is the key to job creation and economic development, in rural and urban communities alike.

Fortunately, others do too. Last week the Obama administration announced a plan to fast-track the approval of much-needed electric transmission lines. This follows the creation of two USDA Rural Development loan programs designed to improve transmission facilities in rural areas.

What does this mean for rural residents? It means that now is the time to become engaged. Each proposed line offers an opportunity for you to become involved almost every step of the way.

Before a project moves forward, the developer will look for input from the community. Each will hold educational meetings and open house events to share information and better understand your needs.  Objectives will be discussed, as will route estimations.

Next, most states require the developer to demonstrate project need, and to prove the project is in the public interest.  This determination is made by a state regulatory agency, most often the public service commission or a variation thereof.

Finally it will be time to determine the route. This offers yet another opportunity to weigh in and submit comments to your state regulatory agency. Your concerns will be taken into account and influence the final determination.

To get you started, we’ve created a transmission map. Visit http://www.cfra.org/clean-energy-transmission-map to find projects in your area and learn more about those affecting you.

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