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Northern Mid-Columbia Joint Project (DOE/EA 1945) 
Douglas and Chelan counties, Washington

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) had ongoing discussions with the Public Utility Districts (PUDs) of Grant, Chelan, and Douglas counties in Washington State on how to address deficiencies in the transmission system of the northern mid-Columbia area. Solutions were explored that would meet each utility's electric reliability needs. These discussions led to an agreement between BPA and the three county PUDs to jointly propose and fund the Northern Mid-Columbia Joint Project (Joint Project).

The Joint Project would require Douglas PUD to design, build, own, and operate a 230-kilovolt transmission line. The line would extend from Douglas PUD's existing Rapids Substation in the city of Rock Island to BPA's existing Columbia Substation, approximately eight miles to the southeast. Both endpoints of the proposed line are in Douglas County, Washington. To interconnect the proposed line to the Federal Columbia River Power System, BPA would add a bay to the Columbia Substation.

Three transmission line route alternatives were considered for the proposed transmission line (See Project Map). BPA also considered a No Action alternative, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Most of the routes cross private land although some public lands would be crossed including parcels owned by the Bureau of Land Management and a parcel owned by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

The East Route alternative is on the east side of the Columbia River, entirely within Douglas County. It follows Highway 28 for approximately three miles, then diverges from the highway and climbs a steep slope, traverses land on top of the plateau that is mostly cultivated, descends the plateau near Palisades Road, and terminates at the BPA Columbia Substation.

The West Route alternatives begin and end in Douglas County, with the majority of the route in Chelan County. The northern portion of the West Route alternatives share a common route and then the routes diverge, with one route closer to the Columbia River and crossing mostly agricultural lands and the other route further from the Columbia River and closer to residences. Both West Route alternatives would require two crossings of the Columbia River, but would traverse more level terrain than the East Route.

CURRENT STATUS:
BPA prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposal and identify ways to reduce those impacts. The draft EA also considered a no-action alternative where the proposed 230-kV transmission line and associated facilities would not be constructed.

BPA released the draft EA in November 2014 and requested comments which are posted in their entirety on the project's webpage at the comment webpage.  BPA held two public meetings in the project area, including a meeting in the city of Rock Island in Douglas County on December 9, 2014 and a meeting at the Alcoa Facility in Malaga in Chelan County on December 10, 2014.  Copies of all comments received on the draft EA, written responses to those comments, and the changes made to the EA are included in the final EA.

Based on the analysis in the final EA, BPA has prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for one of the routing alternatives – West Route D-E – identified in the final EA, and has decided to proceed with this alternative.  Because Route West Route D-E will not cause any significant impacts and, therefore, an environmental impact statement will not be prepared.  The Mitigation Action Plan for this alternative includes mitigation measures that will be implemented to avoid or reduce environmental impacts.

PROJECT SCHEDULE:

Scoping comment period ​October 26, 2012 to December 14, 2012
Scoping meeting November 14, 2012 in Wenatchee, WA
Draft EA comment period November 17, 2014 to January 14, 2015
​Draft EA Public meeting December 9, 2014 in Rock Island, WA
Draft EA Public meeting December 10, 2014 in Malaga, WA
Final EA March 4, 2016
Finding of No Significant Impact March 4, 2016
If decision to rebuild, construction start Early 2017


If all funding partners for the Joint Project (Douglas PUD, Grant PUD, Chelan PUD, and BPA) decide to fund and implement the Joint Project, the project could be constructed as early as 2017.  Before that time, Douglas PUD will work with landowners to acquire transmission line and access road easements where they do not currently have easements.  Douglas PUD will also acquire permits and other approvals for the project.

CONTACT:

For environmental information, contact:

Kimberly St.Hilaire
Environmental Protection Specialist

Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621

For project information, contact:
Alaric Hsu
Project Manager
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-CSB-2
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA  98666-1409

John Brown
Douglas County PUD

Dennis Baker
Douglas County PUD

Toll-free:
Direct line:
Email:



Toll-free:
Direct line:
Email:

 

Direct line:
Email:

Direct line:
Email:

800-622-4519
503-230-5361
krsthilaire@bpa.gov



800-622-4519
360-619-6331
ahhsu@bpa.gov

 

509-881-2297
JohnB@dcpud.org

509-881-2234
dennisba@dcpud.org


DOCUMENTS:

FINAL EA:
Public Letter         (03/24/2016)
Final EA               (03/04/2016)
FONSI                (03/04/2016)

DRAFT EA:
Draft EA comments received
Public Letter         (11/17/2014)
Draft EA               (11/17/2014)
Comment Form    (11/17/2014)

SCOPING:
Public Letter - update                              (03/07/2013)
Summary of Public Scoping Comments     (03/07/2013)
Revised Project Map                               (02/01/2013)

Scoping comments received
Public Letter                (10/26/2012)
Comment Form           (10/26/2012)
Project Map                 (10/19/2012)

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