A travesty is happening in Eastern Oregon and it seems there is no way to stop it. The Boardman to Hemingway power line proposed by Idaho Power, of all companies, is on the path to approval. We in Oregon are about to let an Idaho company gouge a 250-foot wide path 300 miles through our forests and desert in sparsely populated Eastern Oregon.
A number of people, very few really, are learning the rules of the bureaucratic maze and are fighting back. It is easy to get discouraged in this effort against a large professional company. With so few people in Eastern Oregon, B2H has remained pretty much under the radar of those in the rest of Oregon, who ought to be mad as heck.
The Oregon Public Utilities Commission receives, every two years, from Idaho Power an Integrated Resource Plan. This plan has included B2H, and Idaho Power makes it the least cost, least risk portfolio of resources for the next 20 years. The commissioners have a very good staff who they depend upon to make recommendations for changes. As members of the public, we can scream and holler, but emotion has no effect — the rules take precedence. So, this year we are asking the commission to require Idaho Power to analyze other resources like battery storage, solar, and more accurately determine the effect of demand response and energy efficiency, in order to eliminate the B2H.
The Oregon Energy Facilities Council determines the route of the power line on private property in Oregon. Another set of 25 rules — another technical exercise for the few against the large staffed departments at Idaho Power. We challenge the “need.” Our basic objection is that by the time the power line is built it will not be needed.
Even with sage grouse, Oregon Trail, and salmon being damaged, a trail of 190-foot high towers will scar the Eastern Oregon landscape. The ironic part is an Oregon government council and commission may approve an Idaho company to do the damage. This would never happen in the Willamette Valley.