Yellowstone extending public comment period on electrical upgrade

The National Park Service is extending the public comment period on a plan to implement infrastructure upgrades to the electrical power distribution system in Yellowstone National Park.   The comment period is being extended for an additional 15 days, until December 21, 2013, to give interested parties additional time to comment.

Much of NorthWestern Energy’s existing power infrastructure in the park has not been updated since the 1950’s and is prone to frequent outages because of the remote nature of the park, inhospitable terrain, climate, and tree cover near transmission lines, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. The purpose of the Environmental Assessment (EA) is to evaluate alternatives that may reduce the duration of power outages, improve system reliability, and improve visitor and employee safety.

The EA is available online at  A hard copy can also be requested by calling (307) 344-7147, or by writing to Compliance Office, Attention:  Electric Transmission/Distribution System-Communication & Automation EA, National Park Service, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190.

The NPS is inviting public comment and engagement on the proposed plan pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  Respondents are encouraged to submit their comments through the Planning, Environment and Public Comment web site  at  Comments may also be mailed to the address above or hand-delivered during normal business hours to the mailroom in the park’s Administration Building in Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyoming.

Comments will not be accepted by fax, e-mail, or in any manner other than those specified above.  Bulk comments submitted in any format on behalf of others will not be accepted.  Comments must be received by midnight MST, Saturday, December 21, 2013.  After this date, public comments will be evaluated and a decision on whether to implement the plan will be made by the Regional Director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service.

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