"Welcome to A Better Way for BPA!"
Working To Preserve Our Land And Our Landowner Rights
Click on the highlighted link to read the excellent letter from our Congresswoman Herrera Beutler. pdf 2016 Letter from Congresswoman (457 KB)
Click on the highlighted link to read BPA's Response to our Congresswoman's demands. Note their confession of "Cost of the Project and Intense Concern to Local Communities." BPA seeks innovative solutions for peak congestion in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the I-5 corridor Reinforcement Project on February 3, 2016.
For over six years thousands of landowners have been held hostage by BPA. For over six years the board of A Better Way for BPA has continued in its efforts to have the private landowner’s voice heard.
We see this project as an irresponsible land grab and a financial and environmental disaster
Projected costs have escalated from $342 million to $750 million.
Miles of new access roads in addition to a new 80-mile-long corridor will be permanent scars.
Remember in 2009 when we were told by BPA that we would have rolling blackouts if the project was not energized by 2016? A recently released report by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council states that mostly through conservation, our region is predicted to have enough energy for the next 20 years. So why does BPA need a new 500-kV line for the long distance transmission of power? How much power will be transmitted to California? How much will be consumed locally? These are questions that BPA has not answered. BPA claims that there are increased summer loads in the Portland metro area due to more use of air conditioning. If this is true, it would seem that the best way to meet this “need” would be with “non-wire” solutions. These include conservation, re-dispatching (how power is routed on BPA’s long-distance lines) and distributed energy resources (energy that is generated or stored close to the load it serves).
We requested that if BPA does decide to build on new, private land that they place the towers on Department of Natural Resource (DNR) land. Carefully mapping out these areas and joined by 18th district legislators Brandon Vick and Liz Pike, we met with DNR, showing them where it is possible to place these towers on DNR land. We have gotten no cooperation from either DNR or BPA.
BPA has a transmission corridor they own and could build on, the West Alternative. As with the other alternatives, this alternative has NOT been released from the list of possibilities. The board of A Better Way specifically requested BPA to include a study in their FEIS on double-circuit towers along this alternative. This method would stack the new lines with the existing lines on common towers on some or all of the route, causing minimal human and environmental impact since this is an existing transmission corridor with lines and access roads already in place. However, BPA decided to “eliminate double-circuit towers from study” in the FEIS.
We requested on-the-ground study of eagle flight, eagle roost, and eagle nesting sites along all waterways, specifically the East and North Fork of the Lewis River and the Cowlitz River. When questioned about where to find these studies in the FEIS, we are told their focus is on where to place “flight diverters” for these creatures who have flown these waterways unobstructed for decades.
Castle Rock and Camas/Washougal residents have requested that any new power line through their areas be located underground for short distances. These reasonable requests have been “considered but eliminated from detailed study” by BPA in its FEIS.
With the release of Bonneville Power Administration’s FEIS, we are rounding the corner to the final decision as to where this project will be built. After that final decision is made by BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer, the door opens to a legal appeal of that decision.
We need to know if you are interested in meeting with other landowners again to discuss strategy in opposing this project.
We need to hear your opinions on the FEIS to include in a letter our Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler will be writing to BPA.
Our board has always been volunteers, working free of charge. However, we have the ongoing expenses of maintaining a website and continued counsel with our attorney, David Bricklin.
We are requesting donations so we can continue on, hire expert witnesses, and appeal a final decision if BPA decides to build on new, private land. Any amount is appreciated and will be put to good work for private landowners faced with the unnecessary taking of their land.
You can donate two ways—by check or credit card
Donate by check to:
C/O to A Better Way for BPA
PO Box 704
Amboy, WA 98601
Donate by credit card to our Legal War Chest at our PayPal account:
-We tried to obtain an updated version of the project timeline, but have been dismissed by BPA.
-It took a news agency to glean the project timeline we requested. (see below link to learn of this change).
-It has taken over 9 months and is now taking our attorney's action to get a response from a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request we submitted.
-Is this Open and Transparent?
-Is this the way to gain trust from landowners whose land has been tied up for 7 years and who request information they have a right to?
Here's the link to learn about the I-5 Project Timeline Change:http://koin.com/2015/11/24/locals-vs-bpa-giant-fight-over-giant-power-line/
Questions persist and again are not answered by I-5 project manager, Mark Korsness.
-With power consumption down and local distributive generation becoming the norm, where's the need for the Clark/Cowlitz county areas?
-Is this project being planned so BPA can transmit more power to California?
-If BPA can prove need for the Clark/Cowlitz county areas, why can't they build on the existing BPA-owned transmission corridor?
Mark Korsness states "along the existing corridor it will impact 3000 homes." Well, well, Mark, aren't those homes already impacted?
Watch the news report: HERE
You have probably received Bonneville Power Administration's latest “Update” on the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project, dated April 2015. They now admit that the need for additional power is less than anticipated. Keep in mind, however, that this project has never been about local loads or load growth. All of southwest Washington and the Portland area is adequately served by the existing transmission and distribution systems. At 500-kilovolts, the I-5 path is about bulk, long-distance transmission of power from as far north as British Columbia into the grid that eventually ends up in California. Early in the internal planning phases, BPA referred to the I-5 line as the “West-of-the-Cascades Intertie”. By definition, an “intertie” is a high-capacity line intended to interconnect large geographical swaths of the electrical grid (such as connecting B.C. Hydro to Los Angeles).
BPA, of course, is always vague and evasive when asked where all this additional power would go. Dire warnings that BPA has used in the past, “rolling blackouts, system overload and unreliability, customer curtailments”, etc., are nothing but scare tactics to try to make us accept the invasion of our properties by their new power corridor and access roads for power that we will not receive. By obscuring the real purpose of the project, BPA is trying to avoid a political uproar from the citizens of Clark and Cowlitz counties who would bear the burden but receive no benefit.
BPA makes light of the damage caused by the building and maintaining of a new corridor and access roads. Touting themselves as friends of the environment is absurd. Replacing a culvert on Knowlton Creek and improving seven other stream crossings hardly makes up for the additional sixty (by their count) forested fish-bearing rivers and streams that would be permanently degraded.
Economics appear to be shifting in our favor, however. Improved energy efficiency along with increased solar power, which is consumed close to where it is produced, are creating a situation where the export of power from one region to another is not so lucrative. BPA may now have a difficult time trying to prove “need” for its project. Bonneville Power uses its own (ratepayer) money for the planning process, but must borrow from the U.S. Treasury to build. This project has created a hardship, holding thousands of landowners hostage over the fate of their properties, for over half a decade. We as concerned citizens and impacted landowners must keep the pressure on BPA and our elected officials and demand that all work on this wasteful, misguided project be ended now!
Ray Richards, Chair – A Better Way for BPA
Contact your state representatives and BPA and tell them enough is enough!
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler - Email: https://herrerabeutler.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/default.aspx
O.O. Howard House (Officers’ Row)
750 Anderson Street, Suite B
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: (360) 695-6292
Fax: (360) 695-6197
Senator Patty Murray - Email: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme
The Marshall House
1323 Officer's Row
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone: (360) 696-7797
Fax: (360) 696-779
Senator Maria Cantwell - Email: http://www.cantwell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-maria
I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project
PO Box 9250
Portland, OR 97207