BLM Takes Next Step For Idaho's Gateway West Power Line

Mar 11, 2016

The Gateway West Power Line is one step closer to becoming a reality. Friday the Bureau of Land Management released a research document called a draft supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, for the last two segments of the transmission line.

Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power want to string the 990-mile line from Glenrock, Wyoming to Melba. The line will bring 1,500 megawatts of transmission capacity to southern Wyoming and southern Idaho.

The original project proposal was broken down into ten segments. The BLM signed off on eight of those in 2013. The agency wanted to take a closer look at segments eight and nine, both of which are in Idaho. The new draft looks at the potential impacts of the 125 miles of line in those two sections.

Lara Douglas is Boise District Manager with the bureau. She says there were concerns about the impact the line might have on the land.

“But what we can do is analyze that impact fully and come up with a solution that minimizes that impact to the degree possible or that leads to the best combination of potential impacts,” Douglas says.

The EIS looks at seven pairs of possible routes for the power lines. There are two preferred pairs of routes listed by the BLM.

Friday’s release of the Gateway West draft EIS starts a 90-day public comment period that ends June 9. The BLM will hold a series of public meetings over the next three months in Boise, Murphy, Kuna and Twin Falls.

The BLM will consider the comments and then start the process for the final EIS. The last two sections of the project could be approved sometime this winter.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

Copyright 2016 Boise State Public Radio