The Bonneville Power Administration recently released a series of new route segment options in east Clark County, farther from population centers, for its 500-kilovolt proposed transmission line that runs from Troutdale, Ore., to Castle Rock, Wash.
“The extensive public input we’ve received has helped us develop a wide range of alternative routes that includes new options through less-populated areas,” said Steve Wright, BPA administrator, in a statement. “We know that this is a lengthy and trying process, but we need to make sure we get it right. We understand that people who could be affected would like us to move as quickly as possible.”
The new segments include refining of some segments, removing some segments and portions of others from the environmental impact statement, and adding segments in response to comments and new information.
The new segments primarily run through forested Department of Natural Resources land. Concerns have been raised about the financial and environmental impacts of this option.
“We have jointly developed what has become a very collaborative relationship with the Washington Department of Natural Resources,” Wright said. “We have great respect for the individuals at DNR and their institutional responsibility to serve the public interest. DNR has legitimate concerns regarding environmental and Trust Fund impacts of locating new transmission on DNR land that must be addressed as part of this process.”
Three of the project’s proposed segments remain in the Camas area. Line 50 cuts across Lacamas Lake, line 51 is near Southeast Eighth Avenue and Union Street, and line 52 is in the Oak Park area.
In addition, a river crossing from Camas to Troutdale is the only Columbia River crossing that is being considered for the project.
According to the BPA, the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project is necessary due to growing populations, and increasing demand for electricity from a variety of sources ranging from industrial and commercial to residential entities.
Nearly 3,000 people attended a handful of BPA-sponsored meetings held in Camas, Amboy, Vancouver, Longview and Gresham, Ore., in November to obtain information and air their questions, concerns and frustrations over the proposed transmission line. The agency has also received thousands of written comments.
The BPA will now focus on developing preliminary designs for each segment, which will help narrow corridors and provide a more precise picture of where the proposed line might be located.
The BPA plans on completing a draft environmental impact statement in early 2011, and issuing a final EIS and ultimate decision on a preferred route in spring 2012. If approved by the BPA, construction would then begin in 2012, and be completed in 2015.
BPA is organizing a series of meetings that will provide the public the opportunity to learn about the project, provide comments and ask questions. Local events will be held Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Skyview High School, 1300 N.W. 139th St., in Vancouver, from 4 to 7 p.m. (a BPA presentation will begin at 5:30 p.m.), and Sunday, Sept. 12, at Union High School, 6201 N.W. Friberg/Strunk Road, in Camas, from noon to 6 p.m. (BPA presentations will be given at 1 and 4 p.m.).
To view the revised map, visit BPA’s project Web site at www.bpa.gov/go/i5.