BPA is proposing to build a new 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and a new 138/115-kV substation, called Hooper Springs Substation in Caribou County, Idaho. The new transmission line and substation are needed to improve voltage stability on the transmission grid and to meet future load growth. Two routing alternatives are being considered for the proposed line from the Hooper Springs Substation to the connection with LVE's transmission system: a North Alternative, including two route options and a South Alternative, including five route options. BPA is also considering a no action alternative, that is, BPA would not build the transmission line. BPA released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in March 2013, for public review and comment through April 22, 2013.
Since release of the draft EIS, BPA has continued to evaluate comments and suggestions received. As a result of this evaluation, BPA has identified a potential new routing option for a portion of the South Alternative. Among other things, this new routing option would cross through Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area. While similar to South Alternative routing options included in the draft EIS, the new routing option was not specifically evaluated in the draft EIS. BPA therefore will prepare a supplemental draft EIS to include evaluation of this routing option in detail. BPA also plans to identify a preferred alternative in the supplemental draft EIS. BPA expects to publish a final EIS in late fall 2014 followed by a record of decision in early winter 2014 that will explain BPA's decision about whether to build the project and, if so, the alternative or option selected.