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Stimulus money goes to states to study power transmission

Dec 18, 2009 -McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Rocky Barker The Idaho Statesman, Boise

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded the Western Governors' Association $12 million to help 11 states plan for new electric transmission.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 or stimulus grant comes after governors spent a week in San Diego talking about energy and climate issues. The grant will allows the states to develop a scenarios for potential new transmission and evaluate how each affects water supplies, wildlife, landscapes and state economies. States will also receive funding to identify key wildlife corridors and crucial wildlife habitats.

"Such tools will allow us to evaluate potential impacts and integrate them into the transmission planning process -- up front -- and to find ways to provide electricity to our communities while sustaining the water and wildlife resources that are so important to the West," said Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, the group's vice chairman.

The governors have long maintained that the West can expand energy and transmission development while protecting lands, wildlife and natural resources.

"The recession has slowed the growth in demand for electricity, but we cannot squander this opportunity to address future needs," Otter said.

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