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BPA Close to Releasing Decision on High-Powered Transmission Line Plan , BPA will Release Final Environmental Impact of the Plan

Nov 09, 2015 01:50 AM EST | By Jean-Claude Arnobit
Bonneville Power Administration, high-powered transmission lines

The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is close to releasing its decision regarding the high-powered transmission line between Washington and Oregon, according to a report from The Columbian.

The BPA plans to release it's a final environmental impact statement on the project by the end of the year.

The Columbian adds that the BPA will provide an update on the proposed 500-kilovolt transmission line on the voluminous document that they will release.

The update would include the preferred route the agency identified in 2012.

The Columbian adds that the proposed route would cross the Clark-Cowlitz county line, just below Merwin Dam.

Then the line would pass through Washougal and Camas and then cross the Columbia River.

The Columbian adds that the BPA said the new transmission line would ease the strained regional power grid and add capacity for future growth.

The new transmission line would cost $459 million.

Mark Korsness, a project manager at BPA, told The Columbian that the new transmission line will help the region.

"The main benefit for this project is to increase capacity for the transmission system from north to south," he said. "So that in the future when the loads increase, we're able to accommodate the needs of the region."

Not everyone though is happy with the planning process, particularly many adjacent land owners.

Komo News adds that one of the unhappy landowners is Ray Richards, whose property sits along the preferred route.

He said that he and other landowners in the area feel they aren't being heard.

Komo News adds that Richards said their argument is not to split their property.

"Our argument is if they must build this line, and they won't choose a different route, then at least go on property edges and don't rip them right in two," he said.

Komo News adds that Richards has engaged with the BPA more than a year ago in hopes of convincing the BPA to shift the line to decrease the impact to landowners.

Richards, though, said that the BPA didn't shift the line despite requests to do so.

Krosness told The Columbian that it's not surprising that there will be unhappy people with the project.

"It's a tough thing to site 80 miles of transmission line and not have people upset about it," he said.

He adds that they do their best to minimize the impact of the project and make the necessary adjustments where they can.

"But in the end, we have to have a continuous path that's 80 miles long," he said.

The Columbian adds that Elliot Mainzer, the Administrator of BPA, could give his green light on the project in 2016.

Kevin Wingert, a spokesman for BPA, told The Columbian that construction could begin as early as 2017 if a signal to go ahead with the project is given.

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