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: