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Hills Creek-Lookout Point
Transmission Line Rebuild (DOE/EA-1967)
Lane County, Oregon

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has decided to rebuild its 26-mile long, 115 kilovolt (kV), wood-pole Hills Creek-Lookout Point transmission line generally located between Lowell and Oakridge, in Lane County, Oregon. The existing wood-pole line was constructed in 1953 and most of the structures are now physically worn. Based on its deteriorated condition, the line needs to be rebuilt in order to maintain reliable electrical service, avoid risks to the public, and ensure worker safety.

The project will include replacing all wood-pole structures and conductor (wires) and improving access roads. Most structures will be replaced with similar size poles in the same locations unless changes are needed for safety or to minimize potential environmental impacts. Access roads will be improved and new access roads or trails may need to be acquired or developed. The transmission line will continue to operate at 115-kV.  
 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:
To understand the potential environmental impacts of the proposal, BPA prepared an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Forest Service was a cooperating agency in the development of the EA and needed to consider whether to issue a special use permit to allow BPA to realign short sections of line within the Willamette National Forest. The EA considered the line rebuild, as well as a no-action alternative in which the line would not be rebuilt and current maintenance practices would continue. The EA describes anticipated impacts to natural and human resources and includes mitigation measures to help avoid or minimize impacts. The draft EA was released for public review and comment in August 2016; comments were received from seven entities.  The final EA was released on June 30, 2017 and provides responses to comments received on the draft EA and minor revisions to the EA.  Along with the final EA release, the Forest Service issued its draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and a legal notice initiating its objection process. The objection period ended August 13, 2017; the Forest Service did not receive any objections. During the environmental review process, BPA has worked with landowners, tribes, federal, state, and local agencies, and interest groups.  Below is the environmental review schedule:


Scoping comment period                                      August 23, 2013 to September 26, 2013
Scoping public meetings                                      September 11, 2013, Oakridge, Oregon
Draft EA comment period                                     August 10, 2016 to September 19, 2016
Final EA                                                             June 5, 2017
US Forest Service objection period                       June 30, 2017 to August 13, 2017
Finding of No Significant Impact (if warranted)        September 5, 2017

CURRENT STATUS:
BPA has released its Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI includes a Mitigation Action Plan to help avoid or lessen potential impacts. In addition, the Forest Service has prepared a FONSI and has decided to grant BPA a special use permit to allow realignment of short sections of line within the Willamette National Forest. BPA is working now to determine the best way to sequence the work over the next few years. BPA will issue a separate public notification of the construction schedule once it is determined.  
 

CONTACT:
For environmental information, contact:
Justin Moffett
Environmental Protection Specialist
Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
Toll-free:
Direct line:
Email:
800-622-4519
503-230-3233
jtmoffett@bpa.gov

For project information, contact:

Mark Korsness
Project Manager

Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-TPP-1
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA 98666-1409

Toll-free:
Direct line:
Email:

800-622-4519
360-619-6326
makorsness@bpa.gov

 

DOCUMENTS:

FONSI
Public Letter                            (9/13/2017)
FONSI/Mitigation Action Plan      (9/5/2017)
USFS Final Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact        (September 2017)

FINAL EA:
Final EA                                   (6/5/2017)
Public Letter                             (6/29/2017)
USFS Draft Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact
USFS Legal Notice of Objection Period

DRAFT EA:
Draft EA comments received      
Public Letter                              (08/10/2016)
Draft EA                                    (August 2016)
Comment Form                         (08/10/2016)

SCOPING
Scoping comments received
Public Letter                               (08/23/2013)
Project Map                                (07/26/2013)
Comment Form                          (08/23/2013)

EA Determination Memo               (06/10/2013)