Washington — The government declared two swaths of the country critical to the nation's electricity grid Thursday, pushing for construction of major power lines in southern California and along the East Coast.
The Department of Energy proposed two "national interest electric transmission corridors," the first of their kind under a 2005 law that could overcome local objections in order to relieve bottlenecks in the electricity grid.
The current grid "is aging and stressed. Simply put, it is no longer adequate to meet the demands of the 21st century," said Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. He also said the government would take a more aggressive role in energy projects opposed by local groups.
The proposed Southwest corridor would be composed of seven counties in southern California, three in Arizona and one in Nevada.
The mid-Atlantic corridor would run north from Virginia and Washington, D.C., and include most of Maryland, all of New Jersey and Delaware and large sections of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.