BPA selects power line route along Washington-Oregon border

PORTLAND, Ore., March 8, 2002 — The Bonneville Power Administration wants public comments about its proposed new 500-kilovolt transmission line stretching from McNary to John Day dams along the Columbia River. The proposed 79-mile line would link substations near both dams. The project is called the McNary-John Day 500 kV Transmission Line Project.

The route is identified in a draft environmental impact statement that BPA released today for public comment. Three public meetings (see schedule below) will be held to discuss the draft environmental statement and gather comments.

“Because the Northwest has only recently been recovering from a shortfall in electric energy supply and a volatile wholesale power market, there are many new power generators planned in the region,” project manager Lou Driessen said. “Some of these proposed power plants are in the vicinity of the McNary-John Day project. Our proposed line would help ensure that existing and newly generated power could move through the system. Presently, the existing transmission lines in the area are at capacity.”

The new line would start at BPA’s McNary Substation in Oregon and would cross the Columbia River just north of the substation into Washington. The line would then head west for about 70 miles along the Columbia River. At the John Day Dam, the line would again cross the Columbia River into Oregon and terminate at Bonneville’s John Day Substation.

The new line would parallel existing transmission lines for the entire length mostly within existing available right-of-way. The route is lightly populated, crossing agricultural and grazing lands.

“The selection of a route is not a final decision,” Driessen said. “BPA will make a final decision after issuing the final environmental impact statement. Before that we want to hear what people have to say about our report and its findings.”

The draft environmental impact statement will be available for comment until April 22. Copies can be obtained by calling 1-800-622-4520 or at BPA’s website at http://www.efw.bpa.gov/cgi-bin/PSA/NEPA/SUMMARIES/McNaryJohnDay.

For those who cannot attend the public meetings, comments can be written to BPA Communications — KC-7, P.O. Box 12999, Portland, Oregon 97212 or call BPA toll-free at 1-800-622-4519 or send an Email to comment@bpa.gov.

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