Siting Council Approves the B2H

No Surprises!

This David and Goliath Battle is Far from Over...

 Stop B2H Coalition
Update: 9/30/2022

NEWS ALERT-- Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council approved the Site Certificate for the B2H transmission line with conditions on Tuesday, 9/27/2022. You may have seen the story in your local newspaper? Here is a link to the La Grande Observer's story: Link

There were no surprises on Tuesday, considering how many times the Administrative Law Judge ruled procedurally against the public interests during the two year contested case.

Obvious from the news coverage, the Idaho Power P.R. machine had their news release out to the media before the Council left Salem!  As they touted success and courted the media, we have been fundraising and already strategizing our path to the Supreme Court.   

Below is the press release that STOP sent on Wednesday. It explains some of the additional steps that are needed.  Stay tuned because once we analyze the Final Order, we will have a better idea of our strategy going forward. We'll keep you informed.

Press Release

Opposition to the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission (B2H) Line Continues as Many Hurdles Still Exist

 After a decade of review, Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council approved a “site certificate with conditions,” for the 300 mile Boardman-to-Hemingway high-voltage transmission line on Tuesday, 9/27/22.  The line will cross five eastern Oregon counties, with three-quarters of the route on private lands.  “Many problems with the site certificate are still unresolved or incomplete, and while Idaho Power wants everyone to think that it’s a done deal, there’s still a ways to go,” according to Jim Kreider of the Stop B2H Coalition.

 STOP B2H Coalition will evaluate the final order and site certificate conditions in consultation with their attorneys and members in order to make an informed decision on next steps, including a legal appeal at the Oregon Supreme Court. 

According to Stop B2H Co-chair, Irene Gilbert, “we will be looking into the various procedural errors, interpretation of the law, and noncompliance with rules and standards, on various issues from the two year contested case. Several of the “pro se” or non-represented parties have already indicated that they are appealing their issues to the Oregon Supreme Court. We have 30 days from the publishing of the final order to inform the court of our intentions to appeal and 30 days after that to file the appeal.”

Simultaneously, there will be more local permitting steps, including hundreds of miles of road building and traffic control requirements, completion of surveys and mitigation plans for addressing impacts to the Oregon Trail, Greater sage grouse, wildfire, weed control, fish passage, and more. These surveys, permits, and mitigation plans are not complete in the site certificate; some need to be completed by other state and federal agencies, and others are left to under-funded, rural, county planning offices to complete and implement.

In addition, the company must come to agreement with property owners regarding payments to purchase use of their land for the next 100 years or initiate condemnation proceedings (aka Eminent Domain) to force private property owners to allow them to build the transmission line.  This will initiate another “contested case” -- but with the Oregon Public Utility Commission, not the Energy Siting Council -- who will hold hearings and make decisions on eminent domain.  Private litigation is expected to follow as well.


Planning for the high voltage 300 mile transmission line started back in 2006, before smart metering, distributed grids, renewable energy (solar and wind) with battery storage and their ancillary services introduced dramatic changes to the electric utility industry.  Furthermore, innovative technologies, like undergrounding direct current (DC) lines along federal highways and installing EV charging stations at rest areas are gaining momentum. 

Since 2015, Stop B2H has been advocating for the upgrading and fire hardening of the existing transmission lines before building anything new.  “We knew that safer and greener technologies would be emerging very quickly; upgrading and fire hardening is more secure, less risky, and certainly less destructive,” according to Kreider.  

In 2019, according to the Idaho Public Utility Commission, Idaho Power showed a need of only 4 MW by 2026.  This was based on Idaho Power’s own analysis and data.  But before the ink even dried on that plan, Idaho Power changed their metrics and announced that it needs much more energy than that, wrapping themselves in a green energy flag and touting their clean energy goals by 2045 and doubling-down on their stated need for the B2H. Meanwhile, the company has gone in the opposite direction, according to Kreider who has been an intervener in Idaho Power’s energy planning processes since 2015. “The company has been increasing its burning and use of natural gas and discouraging the use of roof top solar. They also plan, with partner PacifiCorps, to convert Wyoming coal plants to natural gas rather than closing the coal plants as promised, if the B2H were built.”

Stop B2H believes that Idaho Power, a monopoly utility, is primarily looking at the B2H to enhance shareholder profits at the expense of ratepayers.  Idaho Power has not demonstrated the "need" for the increasingly expensive $1.2 billion (in 2016 dollars) 500 kV line.  Ratepayers will be on the hook to pay-off the line into perpetuity, while the shareholders will reap millions in profits.  “This $1.2 billion dollar dinosaur will not only cause the degradation of viewsheds, protected areas and sensitive habitats in NE Oregon, it will deface the National Historic Oregon Trail, cause species extinction, and increase electric rates in both Idaho and Oregon,” said Gilbert. “This is not a good deal for Oregon.”

According to STOP, “there are many alternatives to building the B2H that are more secure and would lead us toward greater energy independence. Why should the ratepayers and people of eastern Oregon be stuck with old technologies?  Why should we face greater wildfire risk and environmental destruction?  We deserve better!” 


The Stop B2H Coalition announces GoFundMe campaigns:
Check out the links:  Pick one and please donate 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
Copyright © 2022 STOP B2H Coalition, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp