Green Energy or Greenwashing?
Transmission line projects are worse than ugly. They create enormous environmental damage. We’ve all seen areas of Oregon crowded with forests of transmission towers, an ugly contrast to the pristine forests that Oregon was once famous for. To decrease our carbon footprint, of course new energy sources like wind and solar must be developed with transmission lines to move this vital green energy to points of use.
But, not all transmission lines are equal. Don’t be fooled. Many utilities are hopping on the renewables bandwagon, greenwashing their applications to build transmission lines because there’s a guaranteed profit for construction. These lines are not only unnecessary, they will devastate the natural areas they cross. Damaged scenery is the most obvious result of new transmission projects. Still, hidden environmental consequences will be enormous if Idaho Power is allowed to build the 300 mile Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) transmission line.
Once Gone, Gone Forever!
Favorite hiking, birding, and cycling areas in northeast Oregon will be crossed, with 29,500’ of barbed wire used to isolate the project. Greater sage-grouse will be imperiled by towers above their leks, providing ideal perches for predators. Two sage grouse PACs in the project vicinity will go extinct. Fishing streams will be silted by building access roads, endless traffic will cause dust and noise during construction, and the buzzing popping of overhead lines will be a constant. For decades, residents of impacted rural communities have willingly traded city convenience for quiet living. Now, the B2H will stand within a half mile of private homes. Owners will be provided curtains to cover their view windows to mask the noise. Really, that’s the planned mitigation for the noise intrusion.
Construction of the unneeded B2H transmission line will impact five counties of northeast Oregon: with 206 miles of new roads and substantial modification of another 223 miles of access roads, resulting in a pathway of invasive weeds while crossing two protected areas and releasing more carbon. Endangered plants and critical habitats stand in the way.
The 250’ wide right of way will be lined with 1,198 steel lattice towers up to 180’ high. Support for these towers’ four bases will require a total 50,360 cubic yards of concrete, buried 40’ deep. You get the idea: billions of dollars to manufacture a project across private land, endless resources for a line whose purpose is not to provide energy for Oregonians but to create profit for Idaho Power shareholders. Powerful utilities have corrupted Oregon’s regulatory agencies; otherwise, such a line could never be approved.
Saving Oregon's Wild and Open Spaces
Stop B2H Coalition has fought the B2H for over ten years. During the past three, we have actively participated in Idaho Power’s application process at the state level. We have highlighted serious errors and omissions in their plans and filed briefs and responses on 41 separate issues in eight different levels of litigation, knowing that the two Oregon agencies involved would always support the utility. Distracted by other issues, our elected officials persistently encouraged us to “follow the process.” Now, we’ve “completed the process” and have a chance to have a fair hearing before the Oregon Supreme Court.
Our local supporters have been more than generous, but we are now facing a $75,000 court case. We have abundant evidence, committed and skilled attorneys, and we’re asking you to help us help northeast Oregon. We’re working to safeguard Oregon’s wide open spaces and incomparable natural areas. Stopping this profiteering utility will send a message to their colleagues. Our land is not their land, a commodity to develop for their shareholders.
STOP B2H is a 501 (3) (C.) All donations are tax-deductible. For more information and to learn more about us, check out: www.stopb2h.org.
Thank you so much. We need and appreciate your support. Please circulate this link as widely as possible. Who knows where the greedy utilities’ next target will be? If your community is facing an unnecessary transmission line, please get in touch with us.
Speaking Truth to Power…
Contested Case Warriors at the EFSC Appeals Hearings (Summer 2022)
EFSC Hearings on Draft Proposed Order (Summer 2019)
Signs from the Rally in La Grande (Aug ’22): https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i5CuyYjk07SB8fWxfBsDPvhR-wLnuMFa/view?usp=sharing
About the Stop B2H Coalition video from East Oregonian (2019): https://www.facebook.com/STOPB2H/videos/516073735853278/
The Towers: Before & After... https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1610187562453733