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Transmission line meetings start Jan. 10

The Columbian

CAMAS — A series of public meetings on a proposed transmission line through Clark and Cowlitz counties will begin with a Jan. 10 gathering at Liberty Middle School.

The Bonneville Power Administration is hosting six meetings in January and early February on the project to build a high-powered line between Castle Rock and Troutdale, Ore. BPA first floated the proposal in 2009 as a way to ease a strained Northwest power grid.

In November, BPA officials announced a preferred route for the 500-kilovolt line and released a draft environmental impact statement. That kicked off a public comment period that continues through March 1.

People can give verbal comments at the meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. in the Liberty Middle School cafeteria, 1612 N.E. Garfield St. Another meeting will follow at 1 p.m. Jan. 12 at Amboy Middle School, 22115 N.E. Chelatchie Road, Amboy. The comment period will begin about an hour into each meeting, as part of the open house.

Future meetings are also scheduled in Battle Ground (Jan. 23), Longview (Feb. 2), Castle Rock (Feb. 4) and Vancouver (Feb. 6).

BPA expects to release a final environmental impact statement in 2014. Construction on the line could begin as soon as 2015. The preferred route would cost an estimated $459 million to build, according to BPA.