The Bureau of Land Management was slated to release its final recommended route in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on January 25th for the 1,150-mile Gateway West power line from Glenrock, Wyoming to Murphy in Owyhee County and across southern Idaho.
Two routes are planned for the 90-foot-tall, 500-kilovolt lines, one to the south and another through the Treasure Valley to the north before they merge again at the Hemingway power station near Melba.
At the Capital for a Day in Kuna, John Chatburn of the Office of Energy Resources said the national BLM director is coming to Idaho “and gather Idaho concerns before its release.”
Officials on the national, state and local levels hammered out a compromise route across BLM land through the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey area but the BLM nixed that plan in October in favor of a different route on private acreage through Melba and Kuna. That triggered a roar of protest.
“The route should be in the desert, where it belongs,” said Brandon Schmeckpeper. Chatburn said the decision “to run that line from Melba up through Kuna was federal, not state.”
“The states and governors were supposed to determine the final route, but that was taken out by a conference committee,” Otter said.
BLM Project Manager Walt George said, “We recognize the tiered authorities involved in the process of siting the transmission lines in our electrical grid. Our authority is limited to the public lands. We hope to satisfy most people, but it’s difficult to find a place that will do that.”
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