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Challenging the West-Wide Energy Corridors

Transmission lines.

Transmission lines.

Wang Song / Shutterstock

What’s at Stake

Proposed energy corridors threaten parks, monuments, and wildlife across the western U.S. Earthjustice sued and the federal government agreed to redraw the corridors to protect land and wildlife.


In January 2009, on its way out the door, the Bush administration finalized a vast network of energy corridors that would have promoted coal-fired and other fossil-fuel power plants and trampled national parks, national monuments and other sensitive public lands. The West-wide energy corridors are approximately 6000 miles long and cover 3.2 million acres of federal land in eleven Western states. By designating corridors that service old dirty sources of energy while neglecting areas with potential for clean, renewable energy sources, the Bush administration curtailed the ability of the federal government to shift the country away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

Earthjustice sued in federal court citing violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act and, in 2009, the government agreed to redraw the energy corridors. A formal settlement agreement was signed by all parties in July 2013, and as of spring 2014 three agencies—Department of the Interior, Forest Service, and Department of Energy are collecting comments and suggestions on where and how to place the corridors so as to promote renewable energy and avoid sensitive landscapes.

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