Opposition to planned 500 kilovolt B2H transmission line through most of eastern Oregon, including Malheur County, seems to have waned in the county, but is still strong in other areas the line would be routed through.
The approximate 290-mile lines is proposed between a power substation near Melba, Idaho, to a proposed substation near Boardman. According to information posted by Idaho Power online the new line is need to address the need for more capacity to transmit energy around the region, as the existing system is at capacity. Idaho Power is partnering with Pacific Corp.
According to a news release, two opposition organizations have filed legal action stop any approval or construction on the line,
The Stop B2H Coalition and the Greater Hells Canyon Council have filed opening arguments in U.S. District Court in Portland accusing the Bureau of Land Management of violating the federal environmental policy in approving the line, and are asking the BLM to issue a supplemental environmental impact statement.
Concerns of the complaints include the declining populations of the greater sage grouse, impacts on the view shed at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, east of Baker County, and that new information about the proposed routes in Union County were not adequately analyzed in the regional Environmental Impact Statement.
“We really had hoped that this lawsuit could have been prevented and the federal agencies would have done the right thing and conducted supplemental EIS,” said Jim Kreider, of Stop B2H Coalition in LaGrande.
Marilyn Parry Brown, executive director, Greater Hells Canyon Council, of La Grande, added: “Along with so many of our community members in the Greater Hells Canyon Region. We expect better for the wildlife, environmental and cultural treasures here.”
The transmission line was opposed in Malheur County by Stop Idaho Power, a group of private citizens, which fought to keep the line from going over private lands, which is does except for a stretch north of Vale, with the majority of the line planned to go over federal land.
The company is also seeking a site certificate from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Energy Facility Siting Council.