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BOISE -- U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has delayed indefinitely a final decision on two pathways for a new power line across southwestern Idaho.

The decision on the so-called Gateway West Transmission Line was announced Tuesday.

Jewell said the 990-mile power line stretching across Wyoming and Idaho remains a high priority for President Obama. She also said a new line will strengthen the nation's power grid and bring a more diversified portfolio of energy to the regional market.

But proposed routes across southwestern Idaho have yet to be decided.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has identified two routes, but stretches of each have run into opposition.

One route has drawn fire for cutting too close to Kuna in Owyhee County; the other drawing criticism from officials in Cassia and Power counties.

Governor Otter released this statement Wednesday afternoon:

This federal process has gone on too long, and it continues to be fraught with uncertainty and confusion. This week s announcement raises at least as many questions as it answers. I ve made no secret about my position we need Gateway West. I am committed to ensuring that Idaho voices are heard on this issue, including those of our counties and private property owners. As I expressed again to Secretary Jewell in Washington last month, my collaborative sage-grouse plan establishes a model for the kind of approach that s needed.

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