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Appeals Filed in B2H Contested Case

Public petitioners appealed directly to the governor’s appointed Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) on Friday Nov 6, to grant them full party status and remove limits on specific issues raised in the state’s contested case proceeding for the Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) Transmission project.

The contested case began in August 2020.  
Fifty-two (52) people, plus the STOP B2H Coalition (eastern Oregon’s grassroots organization with 800 members and 8 organizational members) filed over 130 separate issues of noncompliance with government laws and regulations, with the state appointed administrative law judge from the Department of Justice.  The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), who is responsible for the project analysis, is unaccustomed to this level of participation in a contested case process, which is eventually decided by EFSC, according to Stop B2H member and petitioner, Kathy Andrew of La Grande.  She cited the massive negative impact to Oregonians, our environment and wildlife, from the B2H transmission line as the reason for the degree and passion of participation in the contested case proceedings.

In the
Judge’s Order, issued on October 29, all "petitioners" (as we are called in the case), including Stop B2H, were denied "full party" status in the case; they were granted only a "limited" status.  They also had their various issues limited (or narrowed in scope) by the judge, upon advisement from the ODOE and Idaho Power, a for-profit monopoly utility, and lead developer for the B2H project.  Both Idaho Power and ODOE enjoy full party status in the proceedings. On Friday, petitioners filed their arguments against the judge’s order directly to EFSC.  We only had seven days to file these appeals.  EFSC will make decisions on the appeals at their Nov 19-20 meeting remotely over Zoom.  

Rule exemptions, procedural changes, and aggressive calendar scheduling proposed by ODOE and Idaho Power have consumed the first few months of the case.  Petitioners and Stop B2H attorneys have pushed back at every step and remain strong; demanding that the public not be cut out of the process or our rights be denied because of arcane procedures and that state laws should protect our due process rights in the contested case.  

Thirty- eight (38) people have remained standing after the judge initially knocked out 18 petitioners in October on procedural technicalities.  Three people have petitioned to keep their standing in the case, either limited or full party status, and the other 35 with limited party status have filed appeals that are unique to them.  Some are demanding full party status to the case, which means that they may engage in all issues in the case, while others focused entirely on the one or two issues that they raised but do not want their issues limited. (STOP’s appeal is here:
link.  All others are being collated at this time and will be on our website soon.)

The judge has limited/narrowed the initial “issues list” from over 130 distinct issues to 70 issues for the case, which is expected to take at least one year to litigate.  However, petitioners have observed that some of the strongest of contested issues are being eliminated, on technical grounds, by the judge upon advice of the ODOE and the developer, Idaho Power.  Therefore, it was imperative to appeal our issues to keep all of them alive so we can participate in discovery and submit evidence.  “All issues must be heard,” as a matter of state law, according to STOP’s co-chair Irene Gilbert, once a person is admitted in the case as a full party. It is in the self-serving interest of developer and the ODOE to limit us yet pretend that they are hearing many issues, when in fact they are attempting to eliminate our strongest and most pressing issues on technicalities.

Our strong grassroots, completely volunteer organization, Stop B2H Coalition, has been forced to hire attorneys in this contested case process. According to state regulations, organizations in the case must be represented by counsel; individuals can represent themselves.  However, we honestly couldn’t have gotten this far without them.  The rules and procedures have been purposefully modified against us and the attorneys are helping STOP and all the petitioners to stay in the case with their knowledge and thoughtful advice. STOP has been providing 1:1 technical assistance to petitioners and created a small work group or "contested case team," with information and knowledge being shared by and among all of us. 

 
Together, we will STOP the B2H!  Please join us in the fight--see opportunities to be involved--or consider donating to our Legal Fund.
Get Involved!

Stop B2H Outreach Team is meeting
on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 4:30 on Zoom
Here's the link to

Join us at the Zoom Meeting:
https://zoom.us/j/97368884420?pwd=bnBvMEtkUFNKY2dpbGl3RzNFWmR4dz09
Need a call-in number instead? Questions or want an agenda in advance? Send us an email: info@stopb2h.org 
 

Stop B2H Contested Case Team is recruiting
new members to help with specific issues in the case.  Curious? Interested in helping but not a contested case petitioner?
No problem. Send us an note:
info@stopb2h.org
Take Action
Be a part of our winning team! Support us and keep alert for news on our federal lawsuit, the contested case process with ODOE/EFSC, and the dockets in Oregon and Idaho's Public Utilities Commissions.
 
DONATE Now: 
Via Check: Stop B2H Coalition, 60366 Marvin Rd, La Grande, OR 97850.  Or, Click here to donate; via Credit Card or Pay Pal.

Of course, please forward to interested family and friends who may not be on our mailing list. Tell them to sign up on our website stopb2h.org "Join Us!"
Find Out More
Stop B2H Coalition, grassroots people fighting to STOP
a 300 mile invasive 500kv transmission line across Eastern Oregon

Protect Our Land; Preserve Our Heritage
www.stopb2h.org
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