The Bureau of Land Management signed off Tuesday on the route for a 990 mile long power line. But it's left two sections of the Gateway West Project, which will stretch from Wyoming across Southern Idaho, undecided.
Tuesday's decision authorizes the location of the high-voltage transmission line on public lands in both states. It gives the go ahead for eight of the 10 segments for the line, which is a collaboration between Idaho Power and Rocky Mountain Power. The BLM deferred the decision on two of the segments, known as eight and nine.
“Segment eight runs to the north to the Snake River and segment nine is to the south of the Snake River Canyon," says Heather Feeney with the Idaho BLM Office. "Parts of those two segments are located near the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.”
Private landowner concerns, like the massive power lines cutting through farmland, along with the need to protect public land habitat have not always been in agreement in these two segments. Feeney says talks have been ongoing with stakeholders about where to place the power line between Twin Falls and south of Kuna. “So we hope to continue those, step those up and find a placement for these two segments of this project that we can all agree will be acceptable for everybody’s purposes."
Feeney says there will be plenty of time to make a decision on the last two segments of the power line. Construction will start on the Wyoming end, but won’t get underway until at least 2016.
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