Public Involvement for Transmission Projects
Transmission projects often span long distances, have the potential to affect a wide variety of resources, and involve numerous stakeholders and landowners. Effective and timely communication of all aspects of a transmission project - including the project purpose and need and potential impacts - is necessary to encourage a joint understanding of complex issues by all stakeholders in order to obtain informed input. Effectively planned and executed public involvement is therefore critical to the success of transmission projects. Transmission project proponents often create public involvement plans at the outset of a project to help plan for effective communications through different stages of the project, from planning through construction. Public Involvement Plans incorporate both required and elective public involvement strategies to create an ongoing “conversation” with stakeholders. This page provides several recommended tools that transmission project proponents can use when developing a Public Involvement Plan to maximize the potential to communicate accurate information and create understanding about a project.
What is public involvement?
Public Involvement is the process of sharing of information between the project developer, regulatory entities, and interested parties including the general public. Public involvement may be conducted for various reasons including fulfilling permitting requirements for local, state or federal agencies, and/or to provide accurate information, consult and seek input, to obtain informed input that can be considered in identifying and comparing project alternatives, and to collaborate toward a solution that minimizes impacts. A well-organized and comprehensive public involvement campaign can greatly benefit a transmission project by reducing the schedule and the long-term cost of the project. On the other hand, a lack of planning and careful stakeholder identification can add considerable time and preventable cost.
Public scoping is the process of obtaining public feedback on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement or Environmental Assessment, including what alternatives and environmental impacts should be analyzed. Most major federal agencies have specific public scoping guidance.
- BLM NEPA Handbook
- Scoping Guide for RUS funded projects
- Effective Public Participation Under NEPA, DOE, Environment, Safety and Health Office of NEPA Policy and Assistance
- USFWS NEPA Reference Handbook
- Forest Service Handbook 1909.15
- Indian Affairs NEPA Guidebook
- National Park Service – NEPA Handbook and Director’s Orders
Public Participation Case Studies
|Project Name and Company||Case Studies||Link|
|American Transmission Company's Approach to Public Involvement and Outreach||Explanation of ATC's general approach to public involvement and outreach, lifecycle of a major transmission line project, routing new transmission lines, open houses and regulatory review process||atc-projects.com|
|Transmission Line Siting - One Agency's Approach to Public Involvement||This white-paper provides a brief overview of the public involvement approach Western Area Power Administration has used in transmission line projects during the past 20 years.||e-education|
|Recommendations to Western Governors' Association
Transmission Siting Process Reforms
|Section 2. Public Outreach and Involvement
Project proponents, working collaboratively with Lead Agencies, need to engage in aggressive, open and transparent public outreach efforts with potentially impacted stakeholders before a formal application seeking a permit for a proposed transmission line is submitted to the government
|Transhub Morning Report
Feature: Transmission Developers Refininig Best Practices for More Effective Community Outreach
|In an effort to streamline the siting process, transmission developers are becoming more proactive and increasingly creative in engaging members of the public affected by such projects, increasingly working through – and even forming partnerships with – community groups to better engage concerned citizens.||wiresgroup.com|