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Sioux Falls, S.D.-headquartered NorthWestern Energy has called on federal agencies to discontinue their efforts on its proposed, 430-mile Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI) project.

NorthWestern spokesperson Claudia Rapkoch told The Mountain Standard that the company is frustrated by the project, which was proposed in June 2007 and has been ongoing ever since. The problem, Rapkock said, is that there has been little progress on moving the transmission project forward and that there has already been approximately $14 million worth of government studies related to the initiative.

The most recent issue came when the Idaho Bureau of Land Management directed NorthWestern to devise alternative routes throughout Idaho to help avoid and protect sage-grouse habitats. According to Rapkoch, that could add over 160 miles to the transmission line, thus causing even more delays.

"We've called a timeout," Rapkoch told The Mountain Standard. "It's really because of a lack of cooperation with multiple federal agencies. We’ve been going along for years, encountering delay after delay and getting no closer. The goal posts are a moving target."

The MSTI project was set to run from Montana through Idaho.




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