Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 | 8:01 a.m.
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning he will introduce a bill that would give the federal government vast new authority to site electrical transmission lines in Nevada and other states.
Reid announced the pending legislation at the opening of the National Clean Energy Project in Washington. Former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, billionaire wind-energy promoter T. Boone Pickens, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others joined Reid at today’s summit.
At a similar forum in Las Vegas last summer, the development of transmission lines emerged as a key to expanding renewable energy.
Reid’s bill could grant the federal government eminent domain authority in establishing the transmission lines, Dow Jones reported this morning.
The federal authority could helping to speed what has been a lengthy process but it also faces potential political opposition from communities and lawmakers.
In the just-signed economic recovery package, $3.25 billion in new loan authority has been made available for the Western Area Power Administration to develop transmission lines. Similar funds are available in the Northwest.