Billionaires, Birds, and Environmental Brawls: Reconceptualizing Energy Easements
6 Washington and Lee School of Law Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment 3 (2015)
63 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014 Last revised: 22 Mar 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2014
In the substantial power outages associated with Hurricane Sandy and 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes and Colorado floods, which left millions without power, the United States witnessed the insufficiency of its existing energy infrastructure. The lack of access to reliable energy widens the cleavage between the rich and poor, particularly in times of disaster and crisis. Policymakers and government regulators involved with long distance energy transmission projects have not adequately instituted laws and policies for existing and future energy access. This Article holds that current regulations, practices, and norms for long distance energy transmission may be doomed because of complications with right-of-way and transmission line easements unless the energy easement itself is reconceptualized. I explore how improving laws for transmission line and right-of-way easements can lead to greater eco-efficiency and access to energy. I also look at government and corporate best practices that can be utilized to facilitate energy for the greater good. This Article surveys competing community attitudes and national and regional laws and looks at ways to manage community expectations for the creation of sustainable, reliable and universal energy access. I examine sustainable energy regulations, policies, and community expectations for projects such as solar transmission lines in Colorado, Wyoming’s 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, and energy projects in Tennessee, Texas, and Saudi Arabia.
Keywords: Energy, Easements, Land Use, Property, Sustainable Development
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