Electricity Markets

BLM OKs final segments for western transmission line

The Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently approved routes for segments of the Gateway West electric transmission line project on public lands in southwestern Idaho which will connect previously authorized routes in southern Wyoming and eastern Idaho. 

Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash signed a Decision Record authorizing the BLM to offer rights-of-way (ROWs) on public lands for segments 8 and 9 of the project to Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power and amending applicable BLM land use plans to accommodate these ROWs.

Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power first proposed the 500-kilovolt, 10-segment Project in 2007 as a 10-segment, 500-kilovolt transmission line originating near Glenrock, Wyoming, and terminating at the Hemingway substation, 20 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho.

The BLM authorized public-land ROWs for segments 1 -7 and 10 in 2013, but a decision on segments 8 and 9 was deferred to examine additional routing options.

According to the BLM, it “analyzed a range of alternative routes for segments 8 and 9 in a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. A subsequent Environmental Assessment led to a Finding of No New Significant Impact beyond those disclosed in the Supplemental EIS.”  

The environmental assessment follows appeals of a January 2017 Record of Decision (ROD) from the State of Idaho, Owyhee County Commissioners, and three environmental groups, along with requests for reconsideration from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and the project proponents, PacifiCorp/Rocky Mountain Power and Idaho Power.

Authorizing the final segments of the project will make 7,191 acres of federal lands within the ROW available to transmit electric power generated from both traditional (i.e. coal-fired and natural gas-fired) generation facilities and renewable sources (i.e. wind generation facilities) in Wyoming and Idaho, Interior noted in a news release issued on April 18.

Additional details about the project are available here.