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Feds release statement on transmission line set in Sandhills

Wood River, Neb.  — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final environmental impact statement on what a 345,000-volt transmission line through the Nebraska Sandhills could mean to habitat for the endangered American burying beetle.

The release Thursday began a 30-day period for public inspection . The service says it will then decide whether to issue a permit that would allow incidental violations of the Endangered Species Act.

The habitat lies along the 225-mile path of Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project line. The 345,000-volt line would start near the Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland and extend to a new substation near Thedford.

NPPD says the line will alleviate congestion, increase reliability and allow for wind power development. Opponents say construction will disrupt wildlife and cultural gems and that wind farms associated with the proposed line would destroy unspoiled vistas.

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