U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT  
ePlanning DOI-BLM-ORWA-V000-2012-0016-EIS (Boardman to Hemingway Project )  
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Last Updated:
11/17/2017 14:46:02 MST
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CURRENT INFORMATION
BLM Approves Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (B2H Project) which will provide additional electrical capacity between the Pacific Northwest region and the Intermountain region of southwestern Idaho.  The B2H Project will create almost 500 jobs during its three-year development phase and also alleviate existing transmission constraints by providing sufficient electrical capacity to meet present and forecasted customer needs.  

This Decision grants a right-of-way to Idaho Power Company for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the B2H Project and is one of seven priority transmission projects identified by the Rapid Response Team for Transmission, an interagency team designed to speed approval of new transmission lines, increase accessibility to renewable energy, and jumpstart job creation.    

“The Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project is an administration priority that focuses on infrastructure needs that support America’s energy independence,” said acting BLM Director Michael Nedd. “Today’s Decision is based on extensive public involvement and ensures the responsible development of needed resources to meet the needs of Idaho’s growing communities.”

The approved route crosses approximaetly 100 miles (or 34 percent) of Federal land (29 percent of BLM-administered land, 2 percent administered by the U.S. Forest Service, less than 1 percent administered by the Bureau of Reclamation, and 2 percent administered by the U.S. Department of Defense) with 193.1 miles (or 66 percent) located on land administered by the state or private land.  

The selected route approved by the decision is the Agency Preferred Alternative identified in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Proposed Land-use Plan Amendments, which published in the Federal Register on November 28, 2016.  The Decision represents the culmination of a comprehensive planning process including a Community Advisory Process conducted by Idaho Power that further refined the routing options.  Comments received after public scoping in 2010 further refined routing and added variations. 

The B2H Project is a national-level priority and an important component of the President’s all-of the-above-energy strategy that includes encouraging projects that stabilize the electrical grid and otherwise strengthen America’s energy infrastructure.  This line connects the northern terminus, the Longhorn Substation, a substation planned by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) approximately four miles east of the city of Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon, to the existing Hemingway Substation, southeast of Marsing and southwest of the city Melba in Owyhee County, Idaho. 

The final documents and maps showing the selected alternative (approved route) can be viewed be clicking on the Documents and Map navigation in the left column.

All current and historical project documents can also be found on the project web site at:    http://www.boardmantohemingway.com/


 
The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Proposed Land Use Plan (LUP) Amendments for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (B2H Project), was released on November 25th, 2016.

Key changes in the Final EIS:
• Updated routes and variations developed in response to comments on the Draft EIS
• Updated baseline environmental data and a robust explanation of the methodologies used to analyze resource impacts
• Updated mitigation information including a Mitigation Framework Plan
• Additional information about routing considerations on and near the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman
• Additional analysis of the project’s impacts to National Historic Trails and high-value agricultural lands
• New summaries comparing resource impacts for each route alternative by segment

The proposed LUP Amendments are identified where alternatives and route variations are not consistent with the BLM and/or USFS land-use plans, and were prepared pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, implementing regulations, and the National Forest Management Act of 1976, as well as both the BLM and USFS land-use planning regulations at 43 CFR 1610 and 36 CFR 219.10 (for 1982 rule), respectively.  The details on each proposed LUP Amendment can be found in Chapter 3 of the Final EIS.


Resolution of any Protests for the Proposed BLM LUP Amendments
The BLM Director's decision will be in writing and has been sent to the protesting parties by certified mail, return receipt requested.  The decision of the BLM Director is the final decision of the Department of the Interior on each protest.  The BLM has compiled and formalized responses to protest issues in a Director's Protest Resolution Report, which is available on the Internet at  https://www.blm.gov/programs/planning-and-nepa/public-participation/protest-resolution-reports and by clicking on the Documents tab in the left column.

Only those who submitted timely and specific written comments regarding the proposed B2H Project during a previous public comment period established by the responsible official are eligible to file a protest.


 
 
 
 
About this Project

The Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project (B2H Project) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared in response to an Application for Transportation and Utility Systems and Facilities on Federal Lands (Standard Form 299) submitted by Idaho Power Company (Applicant) to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and United States Forest Service (USFS), Department of the Navy (Navy), and the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation). The Applicant proposes to construct, operate, and maintain the B2H Project, which is an approximately 300-mile-long (depending on the route selected), single-circuit, 500-kilovolt (kV), alternating-current, overhead electric transmission line and ancillary facilities. The transmission line would connect the northern terminus, the Longhorn Substation, a substation planned by Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) approximately 4 miles east of the city of Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon, to the existing Hemingway Substation, near the city of Melba in Owyhee County, Idaho. The goal for the B2H Project is to provide additional electrical load capacity between the Pacific Northwest region and the Intermountain region of southwestern Idaho. The B2H Project would alleviate existing transmission constraints and ensure sufficient electrical capacity to meet present and forecasted customer needs.

The proposed B2H Project would cross federal, state, and private lands in five counties in Oregon and one county in Idaho. The proposed transmission line would cross federal lands administered by federal agencies, including the BLM and the USFS. The B2H Project would potentially affect lands and assets administered by the Reclamation and may affect lands of the Naval Weapons System Training Facility (NWSTF) Boardman and associated military Special Use Airspace administered by the U.S. Department of the Navy (Navy).


NEPA Process

The ROD was issued on November 17, 2017.  To view the FEIS or the ROD, select the Documents tab in the left column

Project Milestones
2007 - Project initiated
2008 - Sept. 12: Original Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS issued
           Sept. 12 – Nov. 14: Original public scoping period
2010 - July 27 – Sept. 27: Second public scoping period
2014/2015 - Dec. 19, 2014 – March 19, 2015: Draft EIS published & Public comment period on the Draft EIS
2016 - Nov. 25: Final EIS published
           Nov. 18 – Dec. 19: BLM’s protest period on the Final EIS Plan Amendments
2017 - November 17th
- BLM issue its Record of Decision (ROD) and publishs Notice in The Federal Register. 
USFS expects to issue its draft ROD shortly after the release of BLM’s ROD, followed by an objection period.
2017 - 2018: IPC Works on the EFSC application for Site Certificate.
2017 – 2020: Additional activities related to state and local permitting processes, USFS special use authorization, BOR, BPA and Navy authorizations.
2020 - Construction projected to start if project is approved
2024 - Approximate Inservice Date

Project Overview
This EIS analyzes and discloses the impacts on federal, state, and private lands that may result from granting the federal agencies right-of-way to Idaho Power Company (the Applicant) to cross the federally managed lands for the purpose of constructing, operating, and maintaining the proposed 500 kilovolt (kV), single-circuit, alternating-current electric transmission line.  The Agency Preferred Alternative for the new 500-kV transmission line begins at the proposed Longhorn Substation near Boardman in Morrow County, Oregon, and extends south and east to the existing Hemingway Substation in Owyhee County, southwest of Melba, Idaho, a distance of approximately 293 miles.
 
The B2H Project also includes:
•    Constructing an internal communication system to control the transmission line and manage the flow of electricity, with regeneration sites approximately every 40 miles
•    Relocating approximately 0.9 mile of existing 230-kV transmission line in the vicinity of Flagstaff Hill located east of Baker City, to allow for efficient placement of the 500-kV line
 

Cooperating Agencies
    Federal
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service (Wallowa-Whitman National Forest)
U.S. Department of the Army, Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Department of the Navy, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island (for Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility, Boardman)
U.S. Department of Energy, Bonneville Power Administration (DOE/EIS-0507)
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    State
Idaho Governor’s Office (Idaho Office of Energy)
Oregon Department of Energy
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
 
   County
Morrow County, Oregon
Umatilla County, Oregon
Union County, Oregon
Baker County, Oregon
Malheur County, Oregon
Payette County, Idaho

   Other
City of Boardman, Oregon
Owyhee Irrigation District, Oregon
Joint Committee of the Owyhee Project, Oregon

 
Interactive project maps are available at http://www.boardmantohemingway.com/maps_interactive.aspx
Visit the Boardman to Hemingway website for updates on the project at http://www.boardmantohemingway.com.