Springing Forward in 2021

Stop B2H Coalition News

Courts, Actions & More...
March 2021
Oral Arguments Heard in Federal Lawsuit

On February 22nd the Federal District Court in Portland heard oral arguments in our lawsuit demanding a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) on the B2H. We do not expect a ruling until April or May and we will let you know immediately. Here is an article from the Capitol Press.
While we patiently await this ruling, we are simultaneously engaged in two state processes: Idaho Power’s Energy Plan at the OPUC/IPUC and our Contested Case with the Energy Siting Council. Read on…
Special places being protected:
Glass-Rice Natural Area, La Grande (L) & National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretative Center, Baker City (R)
Contested Case against the B2H!

Thirty-six (36) East Oregonians are party to the Contested Case at the State’s Energy Facility Siting Council. The process has been chaotic and STOP “petitioners” (as we are called) have been strong advocates in protecting Eastern Oregon. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) from the Dept of Justice has been running the proceedings since late Aug 2020.
Our sheer numbers, objections from both sides, and lack of clear and changing procedures has caused headaches not only for the ALJ and us -- but for Idaho Power too! We clearly are a fierce group that was under-estimated.
For the curious, here is the link to our case summary (i.e.: petitioners, issues & case calendar).
The “36 petitioners” include the Stop B2H Coalition and Greater Hells Canyon Council, Eastern Oregon University, California Oregon Trails Assoc, and 33 dedicated individuals. Together we have 76 distinct issues in the case ranging from (lack of) energy need to historical preservation to wildlife habitat. But, we’ve learned this doesn’t come easy! Every step, every deadline (every couple of weeks) has created weary but “take no crap volunteers.” It’s been a challenge and attorney fees are growing. Fortunately, we’ve saved thousands by using our skilled and supportive legal volunteers. Still, help is needed--please consider donating to our legal fund today!
Special Recreation Places being protected:
Morgan Lake, Union County
Activists Speaking Out at the OPUC!

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission held a public meeting on March 2nd with 50+ people on the Zoom (video link), and nearly 20 Stop B2H folks got to testify. Many more, wrote letters to the OPUC, however they are not all posted yet. (Check here and scroll to p. 3 for some letters). 
We think that we are being heard! 

The Commissioners scheduled another “special public meeting” on April 6th at 1:30 pm and the agenda is to be published on 3/15/21. This was not planned so is a bit of a surprise but the OPUC decided that they wanted to ask more detailed questions and hear from Idaho Power and the Intervenors. STOP is an intervenor. The meeting will be open but we are uncertain of the format. There’s also a “final hearing” scheduled for April 15th at 1:30 pm.  Stay Tuned…
The Action Continues at the OPUC into April!
Let them know your feelings about the B2H at the public meetings on the 6th, the 15th, or in writing. We will send out action alerts before the meetings with updates.  Here are important messages that they need to hear:
  • You do not want to see ratepayers socked with paying off investments in an out-dated long distance transmission line;
  • Your preferred investments would be for fire hardening, upgrading and digitizing transmission, first, before planning for new, especially given the changing energy & storage industry;
  • You prefer investments in solar and batteries located near substations;
  • You prefer investments in micro-grids and ways to keep us more secure in the climate vulnerable future (think: storms and wildfire);
  • Anything else you choose to raise to sway the hearts and minds of the commissioners, e.g.: environment, cultural, personal or … here are more :
You can also email or write to the OPUC:
Attn:  # LC 74, Idaho Power 2019 IRP
Oregon Public Utilities Commission
PO Box 1088
Salem, OR. 97308
What We’re Watching…
  • New legislation proposed by Senators Wyden and Merkley, “Disaster Safe Power Grid Act” would ensure that power companies do their part to reduce the risks of power blackouts and wildland fires through power system upgrades, fire and disaster safety equipment installation, and proper vegetation management. A summary of the Disaster Safe Power Grid Act can be found here. Legislative text can be found here.
  • The last year has been tough for Oregon, especially for those struggling from the effects of devastating wildfires and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A coalition of frontline leaders and their allies from across the state have launched the Oregon Clean Energy Opportunity campaign to reduce energy bills, support home upgrades that help keep families healthy, and create good jobs by transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2040.
  • Senate Bill 287 a Wildfire Plan Bill which requires that electric companies and consumer-owned utilities have wildfire plans based on best practices; Comprehensive statewide map of wildfire risk; Establishment of minimum defensible space requirements; Regional analysis of wildfire risks and possible reduction; Analysis of wildfire risk mitigation and response capacity.
  • Tracking Idaho Power’s 2021 Energy Plan! Even while the OPUC is still reviewing their 2019 IRP (see stories above), the 2021 process is underway. Check the link for agendas, slides and more background.
  • IdaCorp and Idaho Power fiscal health:quarterly shareholder meetings, SEC filings, and more. Interested? Contact us:

More Federal, State and Idaho Power issues we are tracking: here.
What We’re Talkin' About…

A recent dialogue among STOP’s energy researchers about the promotion of transmission, grid security, Texas, and lots of confusion…
>>  I get so frustrated with many enviro’s who seem to have “drank the kool-aid” on transmission. It’s so environmentally destructive and seems to be going in the wrong direction from the trends we are seeing in the industry.

>>  It's a difficult time for regulators, advocates of renewable energy, utilities and customers - Texas, California, Oregon, and so on. There are lots of activists pushing transmission. The goal is to get renewable from where they aren't prevalent to where they are. There are any number of issues around that making for a byzantine landscape:

Interested in more discussion, especially on the local energy democracy movement, contact us:
Cool Trends Toward Energy Democracy
food for thought…
  • Heard of virtual power plants? Check out these neighborhood developments in SLC! link
  • Energy Democracy—ILSR news, link.
  • Grid Scale Batteries offer many benefits, link.
  • Mindshift Needed! Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and Demand Response, link.
  • Closer to home: more in-line hydro, in Bend: link, and in Wallowa Co.
 Catch Up on STOP B2H "in the news" and podcasts… link.
We had a great 2020, challenging Idaho Power in multiple arenas. Your kind donations have allowed us to maintain our momentum.

This coming year will be equally as challenging; so if you have any stimulus $$ looking for a home, think about Stop B2H!  Our legal fund needs support. Please consider
Donating Today!
Not a member?  Sign up on our website "Join Us!"
Stop B2H Coalition, grassroots people fighting to STOP
a 300 mile invasive 500kv transmission line across Eastern Oregon

Protect Our Land; Preserve Our Heritage
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