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The Associated Press

DOUGLAS, Wyo. (AP) — A coalition has been formed to give landowners a voice in placement of a proposed power line.

The Wyoming Coalition for Responsible Development is headed by Campbell County Commission Chairman Alan Weakly. The group also includes representatives from Converse, Niobrara, Platte, Goshen, Laramie and Albany counties, the Douglas Budget reported.

With at least five power plants planned in Campbell County, the group came together to give landowners a say in where a 350-mile, 345-kilovolt transmission line to Colorado’s Front Range will be placed.

The counties lie along the potential corridor.

“Our energy development should be done by choice and not be done to use by chance, and local involvement is the key to that,” said Steve Reynolds, director of minerals, energy and transportation for the Wyoming Business Council.

“Wyoming citizens must be considered in a balanced and reasonable way so local impacts are understood and are more positive and beneficial,” he said.

Converse County Commission Chairman Al Stoick, who was elected secretary of the coalition, said his goal is for the group to be granted cooperating agency status by the U.S. Department of Energy, which will oversee permitting for the power line.

If such status is approved, landowners, cities and counties will have a voice in the process, he said.

Stoick said one of the first goals will be to become more educated about electricity and its transmission, so the coalition is seeking a conference for the public and industry officials.

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Converse County’s economic development director, Joe Coyne, said he is optimistic about the possibilities.

“The county is now in a good position to protect landowner rights,” he said.

The next meeting of the coalition is July 19 at 10 a.m. at the Best Western Douglas Inn. The public is invited.

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