Hot Summer News

 Stop B2H Coalition

July 2021
Contested Case Warriors gather in La Grande  (photo above)
In this Summer News: we dissect some of the national narrative on transmission, suggest Action Items, and introduce a technical explanation about the unruly grid. We also update you on our contested case; share a member's Op Ed and much more! Read ON & Carry On...
Dissecting the Narrative on Transmission

The national narrative on transmission and Biden’s infrastructure bill is all-the-buzz in the news lately.  It’s not a new narrative; but certainly one that is getting more attention.  Stop B2H members, Lois Barry, Jim and Fuji Kreider, recently met with Jessica Keys, Senator Jeff Merkley’s Eastern Oregon representative to discuss this very issue.  We shared our research on the matter while advocating for alternative and more prudent approaches to the currently proposed big transmission infrastructure investments.  Some highlights: 
  • Repair, upgrade, “re-conductor,” and fire-harden all current transmission and distribution lines as a first line of investment. For years Stop B2H and many others have been advocating “re-conductoring,” and fire-hardening the three 230 kV lines that go through our region to Idaho, to 345 kV’s on the same poles, in the same corridors.This is possible! This would be a prudent investment. Result: no land taking, no habitat destruction, more secure, less risk of over-building, and more…Plus, it would yield 345 kV additional capacity “if” they really needed it.
  • Transmission needs are regional and a one size fits all approach isn’t appropriate. We hear that the mid-west and east coast are the most constrained. Path 14 (the B2H path) is NOT constrained as Idaho Power (IPC) want the regulators (and the renewable industry) to believe. In our research and testimony (at the Oregon Public Utilities Commission-OPUC: opening, closing, & rebuttal; and the Idaho Public Utilities Commission-IPUC: intervenor comment), we have not only debunked this notion but proven that IPC is cooking the books to artificially constrain the path.
  • The real constraint is not with transmission; rather it’s the inter-connection to the sub-stations. There is a waiting queue for connection to the stations.This can be relieved with upgrades. And these upgrades need to have costs applied in an equitable and regulated manner.
READ the full story, HERE

Write Jeff Merkley! Tell him (and all elected officals) what you think about the B2H & better investments.  Click
here for ideas & addresses!
The Unruly Grid
-Norm Cimon, Oregon Rural Action
The winter storms that brought down the Texas power grid had politicians ducking – blaming renewable energy when it was the failure of the state’s poorly regulated utilities to prepare for winter weather that caused the problem. But there was actually a larger story that remains untold. A story in the La Grande Observer made the point about how this sort of collapse happens.

AC transmission lines, and that’s what B2H is, are prone to failure. If feedback gets out of hand, the power can swing wildly and the result is blackouts. The larger the system, the more likely those are to occur. This is exactly what happened in Texas, brought on by the cold spell and snowfall of February, 2021. As uninsulated nuclear plants, gas plants, and pipelines – and to a much lesser extent wind turbines – failed, waves of feedback pulsed through the Texas grid. Power was restored at different times and at different locations only to fail again a short time later. The grid was so unstable that it came perilously close to
catastrophic collapse.

That happened because power grids are a sort of ecosystem. Ecosystems in nature...
READ the full story,
David & Goliath Battle Continues...
an update on the Contested Case
The B2H Contested Case saw 38 Motions for Summary Determination filed against 19 Stop B2H-ers on May 28th by Idaho Power (IPC) and the Oregon Dept of Energy (ODOE).  A motion for summary determination is a tactic to eliminate an issue before it gets to trial (or hearing) if there are no disputes in the facts or the law interpreting those facts. We plaintiffs, called “petitioners”, had one month to respond and IPC and ODOE had the opportunity for rebuttal. To make matters worse, the administrative law judge imposed more bureaucratic and technology requirements that frustrated people’s ability to participate. These caused some petitioners to fold on their issues. This was an unfortunate but anticipated situation.  The constant filings, counter-responses and deadlines, have pushed some dedicated volunteers just one step too far. Still, there are 39 issues and 14 remaining petitioners in the case, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-2022. 

A mini-summit (with training and potluck) was held in La Grande for these contested case “warriors” on June 12. We call them warriors because this has certainly been a battle!  Idaho Power’s relentless complaints and counter-filings, the judge’s strict interpretations on rules and statements, and our newness to this process and lack of expertise navigating this administrative-legal process, has been very difficult to say the least. We are tired and weary, which is exactly what Idaho Power is counting on. Their internal and external corporate attorneys and the developer-aligned state agencies, have further demonstrated the David & Goliath battle we face.
The Warriors ask for Help!


1) Writers: Folks that are not enmeshed in the case can lend a big hand by writing to elected officials and opinion pieces in the media, since the “warriors” have run out of time to maintain these outreach efforts. Contact us for ideas.

2) Testimonials: Anyone with information or direct experience on the following issues and a willingness to make a statement, please contact us: wildfire, geo-blasting, ground water movement, rare species and habitats (especially in the blue mtns); scenic values (specifically at Morgan Lake and the Interpretative Center); agricultural impacts; weed control; and more!

3) Donate:  As always, the group could use more legal help. We operate with part-time and volunteer attorneys whereas the State and Idaho Power has numerous full-time (corporate) attorneys working their case issues.
Rules & Things we are Tracking:

Protected Areas, Scenic Resources and Recreation Standards:  The Oregon Department of Energy and Energy Facilities Siting Council (ODOE/EFSC) are revising many of their rules and standards—and it is waaaay overdue!  We’ve learned the hard way during our contested case how poorly our state and local rules are in protecting our cherished places!  And because of that, we have had trouble being able to keep areas like, Morgan Lake Park, Rice-Glass natural area, Oregon Trail vistas and ruts, protected from the planned encroachment of the B2H. Their plan is to start with informal workshops; the first one is on July  28th at 1:00p. Contact the Rules Coordinator, Christopher Clark at; or, contact us and we can talk about it more too.  Related, see "My Voice" article below...

Land Condemnation The OPUC is updating the state’s rules for eminent domain for all transmission lines, called Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). The pandemic put a pause on it several meetings into the process but the process has begun again.  Stop B2H is the only “public” involved; all other participants are utilities.  We are working to insert “Environmental Justice screening criteria” into the rule. We could use help!  If you can, please contact us at

Wildfire Protection:  Oregon's progress on utility risk-based wildfire protection plans can be found in docket AR 638. There are a lot of good people participating in this docket at the Oregon Public Utilities Commission (OPUC). Read some of the comments, especially the state fire marshal. Some of the utilities’ plans are also interesting—especially as compared to Idaho Power’s lame 4-page whining contribution. The OPUC is dealing with the Public Safety Power Shut-offs (PSPS) permanent rulemaking now which involves shutting off power lines and notification using the emergency broadcast system.  Contact the OPUC, at the above link, to get on their mailing list if you want to stay informed.

Idaho Power’s 2021 Integrated Resource Plan The 2021 IRP process began in January 2021, before we finished the 2019 IRP which concluded in July 2021, and we are 9 meetings into the process with two more to go. The pattern we have noticed over and over is how the company develops new methodologies to create data that is favorable to the results they want. No surprises there--READ the rest of the update, HERE.
Don't Miss Reading this!...  My Voice:  On Protected Areas
- Anne March, La Grande (a Contested Case Warrior)
Joni Mitchell famously wrote “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone,” a lyric that applies in 2021 as much as it did back in 1973 when “Big Yellow Taxi” was written.  Though our landscape has changed since that song came out, we in Eastern Oregon are fortunate to live in what is a remarkably beautiful part of the world, surrounded by forests, abundant wildlife, and mostly pristine views of hills and rivers.  This is true prosperity.  Continue Reading HERE.
Have you been tracking the Blue Mountain Trail?
Check it out here. Our friends and member organization, Greater Hells Canyon Council (GRCC) is spear-heading the effort to make this long-distance through-trail a reality for our region and all!  So exciting!
We are humbled by this note of appreciation and donation:

"...The last 12 years have revealed an astonishing lack of care, concern, or oversight on the part of many staff and representatives of agencies who purport to be stewards of Oregon's natural heritage. It would have been so much easier to just give up in bitterness and disgust and walk away. But, none of you have. You've all continued the fight on behalf of the extraordinary biodiversity that we all know depends on our success.
This long, fraught process has been traumatizing for me to the point where I now just feel paralyzed by it, as though infected by something transmitted through the high-voltage lines themselves. This is why I feel such overwhelming gratitude to each of you, and all of the others not listed here, for the work that you've done, knowledgeably, capably, and in good spirit, against all odds."   -anonymous activist, member & donor
Photo (Above):  Paradise, California
'Tis the Season:
Stay Alert and Keep Safe.  It's fire season and we all need to be vigilant!
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 © 2021 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