[Federal Register: September 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 178)]
[Page 52944-52945]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Forest Service


Bureau of Land Management

[OR-030-08-5101-ER-H048; OROR-065375; IDI-036029; HAG-08-0199]

Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) for the Boardman-Hemingway 500 kilovolt (kV) Transmission Line 
Project (Project) in Idaho and Oregon and Possible Land Use Plan 

AGENCIES: Bureau of Land Management, DOI; and Forest Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, 
possible land use plan amendments, and notice of public scoping 


SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102 (2)(C) of the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and in response to right-of-way (ROW) 
applications filed by Idaho Power Company, the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), Vale District Office, and U.S. Forest Service (USFS), 
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest announce their intent to prepare an EIS 
and conduct public scoping meetings. Idaho Power Company proposes to 
construct, operate, and maintain a single circuit 500 kV overhead 
electric transmission line and appurtenant facilities beginning near 
Boardman, Oregon, and terminating near Melba, Idaho. The proposed route 
roughly parallels Interstate 84 and is approximately 278 miles long. 
Authorization of this Project may require the amendment of USFS or BLM 
land use plans.

DATES: This notice initiates the public scoping process as required by 
NEPA. The BLM and USFS request that public comments be submitted by 
November 14, 2008. To provide the public an opportunity to review 
project information, public meetings are planned in Idaho and Oregon in 
communities near the proposed route. The following communities are 
being considered for meeting locations: Ontario, Baker City, La Grande, 
Pendleton, Pilot Rock, Hermiston, and Boardman, Oregon; Marsing and 
Homedale, Idaho. The scoping meetings will be conducted in an ``open 
house'' format. Staff from the BLM, USFS, Oregon Department of Energy, 
Idaho Power Company, and environmental contractors will be available to 
answer questions and explain their respective roles and 
responsibilities. The BLM and USFS will announce the exact meeting 
dates, times, and locations at least 15 days prior to the event. 
Announcements will be made by news release, individual postcard 
mailings, and posting on the Project Web site (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.boardmanto 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Web site: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.boardmantohemingway.com.
     E-mail: B2HComments@blm.gov.
     Mail: Bureau of Land Management, Vale District Office, 100 
Oregon Street, Vale, Oregon, 97918, Attention: Lucas Lucero.
    Documents pertinent to the ROW application are on file and may be 
examined at:
     Bureau of Land Management, Vale District Office, 100 
Oregon Street, Vale, Oregon, 97918.
     U.S. Forest Service, Wallowa-Whitman Supervisor's Office, 
1550 Dewey Avenue, Baker City, Oregon, 97814.
     U.S. Forest Service, La Grande Ranger District, 3502 
Highway 30, La Grande Oregon, 97850.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Idaho Power Company has submitted ROW 
applications to construct, operate, and maintain a 500kV single circuit 
overhead electric transmission line on Federal lands. The purpose and 
need of the Project is to relieve existing congestion, capacity, and 
reliability constraints and allow for the delivery of up to 1500 
megawatts (MW) of additional energy to target service areas principally 
in Idaho and Utah. The proposed project begins near Boardman, Oregon, 
just north of the Boardman Power Plant, at the newly proposed Boardman 
Substation. The Project route continues southeast to interconnect with 
the Hemingway Substation in southeastern Oregon. The Hemingway 
Substation is being planned and built separately from this Project and 
will be built regardless of the outcome of this Project so the 
Hemingway Substation will not be analyzed in this EIS. The Project 
route then proceeds southeast and terminates near Melba, Idaho, at the 
newly proposed Sand Hollow

[[Page 52945]]

 Substation. The proposed route is approximately 278 miles long. The 
requested ROW width is 250 feet. Idaho Power Company proposes to 
utilize steel lattice type structures approximately 150 feet in height 
with average spans between towers of 1200 feet. Access roads would be 
approximately 14 to 20 feet wide. Additional temporary work space would 
also be required during construction. Approximately 195 miles or 70 
percent of the route is privately owned; 45 miles or 16 percent is 
administered by the BLM; 27 miles or 10 percent is administered by the 
USFS; and 11 miles or 4 percent is administered by the State of Oregon 
or other jurisdictions.
    The route generally parallels Interstate 84 and other existing 
overhead and underground utilities and roadways. The proposed route 
also makes use of existing or proposed utility corridors on Federal 
lands. The BLM is the designated lead Federal agency for preparation of 
the EIS. Cooperating agencies identified at this time include: USFS, 
Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and the State of Oregon Department of 
Energy. Other agencies will be invited to participate as cooperating 
agencies. The EIS will analyze the proposed action and a reasonable 
range of route alternatives. The BLM and USFS encourage you to send 
your comments concerning the Project as currently proposed, feasible 
alternative locations, possible mitigation measures, and any other 
information relevant to the Project. Authorization of the Project may 
require amendments to one or more of the following BLM land use plans: 
Baker Resource Management Plan, Southeastern Oregon Resource Management 
Plan, Owyhee Resource Management Plan, Cascade Resource Management 
Plan, and one or more of the following USFS Forest Plans: Wallowa-
Whitman Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. This notice serves to 
notify the public of these potential land use plan amendments as 
required by 43 CFR 1610.2 (c) and 36 CFR 219.7(c). If a land use plan 
amendment is determined to be required, the BLM and/or USFS will 
integrate the land use planning process into the NEPA analysis for this 
Project. Public input is important to ensure project-specific issues 
are evaluated prior to the agencies making a decision. Comments 
submitted timely will be considered in the NEPA process. Comments 
received after November 14, 2008 will be considered to the extent 
feasible. Please note that public comments and information submitted 
including names, street addresses, and e-mail addresses of respondents 
will be available for public review and disclosure at the above address 
during normal business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Monday through 
Friday, except for Federal holidays. Before including your address, 
phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. Periodic project updates 
during preparation of the EIS will be provided to the public through 
additional informational meetings, newsletters, postcard notices, or 
through the project Web site.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or to have 
your name added or removed from the project mailing list, contact Lucas 
Lucero, BLM Project Manager, (702) 515-5059 or Lucas_Lucero@blm.gov.

    Dated: September 8, 2008.
David R. Henderson,
District Manager.
    Dated: September 8, 2008.
Steven Ellis,
Forest Supervisor.
[FR Doc. E8-21285 Filed 9-11-08; 8:45 am]