We look for opportunities to run adjacent to existing power lines or road corridors whenever there is not a conflict or safety concern.
We work with landowners to the best of our abilities in order to find our final route options.
The lease (easement) term will likely be 30 years. The lease restrictions, as described on the Western Spirit LLC website include the required restrictions regarding buildings and large trees.
Yes, provided that the drill site cannot be located within the right-of-way.
Yes, however the pit cannot be located within of the right-of-way and the project needs to maintain surface access to the line.
No. The intention is that the lease/easement be used by RETA for the purpose set forth in the agreement which is for a transmission line to transmit electricity.
We will contract with an appraiser regarding the value of property including the value of crops and near-surface minerals.
The right-of-way acquisitions will begin in 2019 through early 2020, with construction estimated to begin in 2020.
We will perform bird surveys to find potential threatened and endangered species, including some species of eagles.
The project only consists of one phase.
Any changes in company ownership would require the new owner to honor the original agreements.
If used, chemical vegetation control would need to be compliant with Federal, state and/or county approved control measures. Western Spirit LLC would use local contractors to handle any application.
You can find contacts on the website at westernspirittransmission.com
Yes, provided that RETA maintains access to the right of way.
We have acquired 100% of our property rights for our previous projects through landowner negotiation. We will use every effort to keep a landowner at the negotiation table.
Right-of-way refers to the actual land area needed for a specific purpose, such as the easement for a transmission line.
Western Spirit LLC estimates that the right-of-way for its projects typically will be between 150 to 400 feet wide.
The right-of-way width requirement is largely determined by how close structures are placed to each other, terrain, and clearance requirements. It is necessary to understand the amount of space needed for appropriate safety clearances to the ground and for the side-to-side movement of wires due to wind.
Some additional areas may be necessary for lay down or access during construction; Western Spirit LLC and RETA will provide additional compensation for these areas through separate agreements with landowners.
Less than 1% of the total easement area for the project will be occupied by the structure footprints.
Yes. Western Spirit LLC and RETA will acquire easements, but the land will still belong to the landowners and can be utilized for activities such as farming, grazing cattle, and other activities that do not interfere with the operation of the line.
Farming of row crops can continue under the lines. There will be sufficient clearance under the transmission line to grow full-height crops (up to about 10 feet tall), not including tree crops, and to operate standard farm equipment.
Ranching and grazing are totally compatible and will not be restricted.
Crops less than ten feet tall may be grown safely under power lines. The easement area can also be used for pasture and grazing lands. Western Spirit LLC must comply with the National Electrical Safety Code to ensure the safety of the general public and North American Electric Reliability Corporation Standards to ensure the reliable operation of the transmission line. As a result, there are restrictions on the planting of trees that are at, or will grow to, a certain height underneath the transmission line.
Landowners will be able to farm right up to the structures.
Hunting is one of many compatible outdoor recreational activities that can occur within and adjacent to the transmission line right-of-way.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will acquire an easement from landowners. The easement grants RETA certain surface rights over a specific portion of the property. Landowners are not selling their land. Easement agreements will be negotiated individually with each landowner and will consider many factors including, but not limited to:
- Existing uses of the land (e.g., crops vs. grazing vs. residential)
- Type and number of structures that will be placed on the land
- The requirement for future access rights to the land
- Environmental conditions
Western Spirit LLC requires that its representatives follow a Code of Conduct, which provides that all representatives treat every landowner with consideration and respect. In addition, Western Spirit LLC strives to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with landowners by working in a respectful and collaborative manner for the life of the project.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA are committed to compensating landowners fairly and seeks to reach voluntarily negotiated agreements with 100% of the landowners along the line’s route. The landowner compensation package will include an easement payment, based on the size of the easement required and market value of the land, and an additional payment for each structure placed on the landowner’s property.
Other payments may be made in certain circumstances, including for:
- Crop damage
- Commercially marketable timber
- Irrigation interference
- Damage to drainage tile
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will engage a certified independent appraisal firm to determine the fair market value per acre based on a market data study, which analyzes recent arms-length sales in a given county, across similar types of land-use, such as dry cropland, irrigated cropland, or pasture.
Historically, utilities have made one-time payments for transmission line easements and structures.
During its extensive outreach efforts across many states, Western Spirit LLC heard that landowners have a strong interest in annual payments as compensation for structures on their properties. Therefore, Western Spirit LLC has decided to offer landowners the option of receiving for each structure on their property an up-front payment or an escalating annual payment for as long as the structure is on their easement.
The easement payment will be made up-front.
Representatives are available to begin discussion of compensation for easements with affected landowners. A portion of the compensation for easements will begin as soon as landowners sign an easement agreement, and remaining payments will have been paid by the time construction has commenced, with the exception of any annual structure payments or damages payments, which may be paid thereafter.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA are committed to minimizing impacts of the project on current land use.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will repair damage to soil resulting from construction and maintenance of the transmission line and will compensate for crop damage that occurs during construction.
The project team has and will continue to collaborate with owners and operators of local airstrips as well as appropriate state associations to better understand the impacts that a transmission line might have to aerial spraying.
In order to minimize impacts to runways, Western Spirit LLC has asked for information on private runways during its outreach efforts and has utilized the additional information as criteria in identifying potential routes.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will work with landowners concerned about potential interference with aerial application. To minimize potential interference, potential routes for the Western Spirit LLC line may be identified along existing divisions of land and/or located in parallel to move aerial obstructions (such as other transmission lines) to the extent practicable.
Western Spirit LLC plans to supply the applicable state associations with GPS coordinates for the transmission structures in all states the project will traverse.
Although forested areas comprise a small percentage of the project study area, the route is likely to encounter some forested areas, and Western Spirit LLC and RETA will compensate for commercially marketable timber that is taken down as a result of construction and maintenance of the line.
Trees and other vertical vegetation over 10 feet will need to be cleared and managed based on potential safety and reliability concerns. Landowners will be given the option to keep the wood.
Right-of-way acquisition for a project of this size in this part of the country may involve both private and public land; however, our project will pass through primarily private easements as most of the land along our potential routes is private.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will either repair or compensate landowners for damages to improvements, such as fences, incurred as a result of the construction or maintenance of the line on their property.
No. In order comply with National Electrical Safety Code requirements and good utility practice, habitable structures may not be located within transmission line easements.
Western Spirit LLC and RETA will attempt to identify potential routes as far from homes as possible, while also taking into account our other routing criteria.
Safety and Reliability requirements establish minimum clearances between the conductors and any structures. Habitable structures are not allowed within the right-of-way.