Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
March 20, 2002     Hells Canyon Journal
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March 20, 2002

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Page 5 Hells Canyon Journal March 20, 2002 Proposed Transmission Line Sparks Discu!sion Continued from page 1 Longwent on to ques- tion what would happen if one landowner whose property would be af- m. fected refused to grant a right-of-way. Other attendees at the open house, and those send- ing in comments, ques- tioned why a "no action" alternative, and one routing the line on the Idaho side where the bulk of the demand is, were not also being con- sidered. Other public comment included con- terns about the impact of new roads and bridges over Pine Creek, as well has health concerns about electromagnetic fields and the visual im- pacts of transmission lines. The Btireau of Land Management, who over- sees large tracts of pub- lic land on both the Or- egon and Idaho side of the Snake River, holds the trump card in the transmission line siting game. Any line route Idaho Power would want to install will pass across BLM land. Offi- cials with that agency say other alternatives, as well as all environmental and public impacts, will have to be fully assessed before any right-of-way across pub- lic land is granted. UIdaho Power came to us with a proposal to go up Ox- bow," said Polly Gribskov of the BLM. "But the National Environmental Policy Act, which has to be taken into account when any action is proposed on public land, re- quires that a full range of options be considered. Idaho Power will have to address the alternative of going down the Idaho side, as well as tak- ing no action." IPC officials maintain it would be too expense and dif- ficult to build on the Idaho side. "One of the rules set by the Western System Coordi- nating Council is that when you build one facility next to another, they have to be suf- ficiently apart so that one microburst or wild fire won't take both out," said Tracy. "If we added a route in Idaho, we'd have to come one-half to one mile on the high side of the existing line and that terrain is really rugged. Building would be difficult. It would require a lot of sub- station work, and the line X ~tmg 1 elNJk 0~,*o Q~V I IDAH ! / / f Proposed Brownlee--Oxbo~ PROPOSED ROUTES FOR NEW POWER LINE. Coming March 3o-- Doris Edward's Birthday Restaurant & Lounge Richland 541-893-6122 catnou< HEALTH St. Elizabeth Health Services /"yew/xnis qeo - 8 to 11 AM C).ly CATHOLIC HEALTH INITIATIVES St. Elizabeth Health Services 3325 Pocahontas Road Baker City, OR97814 /~nnotlnc~ route work would be more expensive too." Further complicating an already complicated matter is the special Wilderness Study Area designation af- fecting a large part of BLM managed land on the Oregon side. That designation could impact Idaho Power's ability to build a new line along the existing route, which runs on the outer edge of the Wilder- ness Study Area. "The designation requires that we manage it as a wil- derness area," said Gribskov. "A power line wouldn't be allowed in that area. If the existing line wasn't there, they couldn't even put a pole in the ground." Clouding the issue is a des- ignated utility corridor along the road skirting the outer boundary of the Wilderness Study area. The loop route in Alterna- tive Two crosses a much smaller piece of BLM land, which does not carry the Wil- derness Study Area designa- tion. Last week's public meet- ing was just the first in a number of opportunities to have public input on the pro- posed new transmission line. Power Engineers of Boise, Idaho will be preparing the required environmental as- sessment, which they hope to complete by the year's end. The Bureau of Land Manage- ment will be notifying people of other opportunities for pub- lic comment. Idaho Power hopes to have a new line operational by October of 2004. # 1124 Adams Ave. P.O. Box 927 La Grande, OR 97850 Jack Laurence frienbly place on Abams PHONE 963-5982 S:OOom |0 r~oon Onlq Low co,t of s3O Blood Cbmi t, , Covdioc I isk P ofib Anemio Check Tbj,,oid C6 ck PSA oa AppOII"ITMENT EEDFD I poa to bo. ot ho p, l. * Woi 0.6 ollowd r, lo rod o,. 19. peio,. I)oqment of s30c' d time of service [Dl tlsicions in|e eelolion of blood dd, ot g, 11 8:00ore - ):OOpm Nf tn TO UttD A I tEAL tHe Co u nv I