More woes for MSTI transmission line

More woes for MSTI transmission line

Montana Caucus report
Chuck Magraw, caucus chair

NorthWestern Energy’s application to construct the Mountain States Transmission Intertie (MSTI, pronounced “misty”) has encountered another in a long line of difficulties.

Jefferson County recently filed suit against the state, arguing that its review of the line was illegal because it did not sufficiently involve the county. The court ordered the state to halt work on both NorthWestern’s application and the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) pending a ruling on the merits of Jefferson County’s case.

A few hearings have been held. After the next hearing, the judge is expected to rule on whether or not the county has a legitimate argument.

Even if the draft EIS is completed and released, the line has a long way to go before it can be approved. Routing is a highly controversial for the $1 billion, 500-kV line designed to bring wind power from Montana to other Northwest and Pacific Coast states. It would run from Townsend, Mont., to near Twin Falls, Idaho, and carry up to 1,500 megawatts of power.