BLM Signs Off On Idaho Portion Of Gateway West Power Line

Jan 20, 2017

The Bureau of Land Management has given the green light to the final federal land section of the Gateway West Transmission Line.

It’s called a Record of Decision, or ROD, and wraps up the federal permission process for the 990-mile power line from Glenrock, Wyoming to Melba, Idaho. The two companies building the line, Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power, started working with the BLM on the project in 2007.

Wyoming’s stretch of line was approved, but in Idaho there were questions about two sections of the line crossing public land. The 125-mile stretch is in south-central Idaho and there were concerns about the effects to farmland, sage grouse and the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Area. The Idaho line was approved, except for those two sections, while different routes were considered by the BLM. After two years of public comments and meetings, the final two sections got the go ahead Friday.

BLM spokeswoman Heather Feeney says there is still a 30-day window for anyone with standing to file an appeal.

Gateway West is designed to start bringing power from the Windstar substation near Glenrock, Wyoming through Idaho to the Hemingway substation, which is 20 miles southwest of Boise. It will deliver 1,500 megawatts, enough to power 975,000 homes.

Friday’s ROD passes the baton to the power companies, who must take the next steps in the process. Idaho Power still has some procedural hoops to jump through with the BLM for the sections that cover federal land, before it can start working out agreements with local counties and landowners over private land issues.

Construction probably won’t begin until 2019 and it will take up to five years to complete the actual power line.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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