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Letter: Who is B2H power line being built for?

Published on December 19, 2017 4:40PM

Idaho Power claims it’s planning to build the B2H transmission line to benefit Eastern Oregon. Their advertisements promise resilient energy, positive economic impacts and new carbon-free reliable resources as Idaho Power moves toward “a collaborative energy future for you.”

These are misleading advertisements, not legal contracts. The B2H will slash across 260 miles of Eastern Oregon with no substations to provide power for local communities. Not one. Positive economic impacts will be insignificant — three or four months of additional motel and restaurant business from outside contractors’ employees. Idaho is 10 years behind Oregon in developing carbon-free renewable resources like wind and solar. Oregon ranks fifth nationally in energy efficiency. Idaho ranks an abysmal 39th.

Along the B2H route, thousands of holes will be blasted and drilled 40 feet down to anchor each tower’s four feet. These massive towers will rise to 19 stories high. That’s three to five times higher than the tallest buildings in Eastern Oregon towns.

On the ground, they will punctuate sterile clear cuts as wide as an eight-lane highway. Impacts on farm and forest lands, wildlife, residential property values and our historic Oregon Trail will be permanent and devastating. Do you know exactly how close to your neighborhood or your favorite camping spot this continuously buzzing, crackling 500 kilovolt line will be? Probably not. Idaho Power only notifies property owners within 500 feet of a proposed line.

Fortunately, it’s not a done deal, but it’s definitely a bad deal. National and regional organizations critical of the B2H have filed more than 100 pages of expert testimony with the Oregon Public Utilities Commission. They document obvious flaws in Idaho Power’s efforts to prove their questionable need for additional energy resources, which Idaho Power admits will not occur for at least ten more years.

This “need” is actually driven by Idaho Power’s obsessive priority to increase profits for shareholders at the expense of ratepayers and our environment.

Strange but true, utilities are guaranteed a profit on building things, whether they’re needed or not. Idaho Power will share $80 million profit with their partners if they’re allowed to build the B2H.

Oregon doesn’t need and won’t benefit from this monstrously ugly and expensive transmission line.

Lois Barry

La Grande


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