Project Description

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 replacement of all wood-pole structures and conductor (wires) and improvement of the access system. 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 trails will be constructed to remote tower locations that are inaccessible by vehicles. Up to 4,000 trees within and adjacent to the transmission corridor and access road system will be removed along the entire length of the transmission line to prevent electrical outages and damage to the transmission line. Backup generators will be temporarily located adjacent to the Lane Electric Cooperative Oakridge Substation to provide a secondary source of electricity in the event power could not be generated at Hills Creek Dam. The transmission line will continue to operate at 115-kV.  

Environmental Review

To understand the potential environmental impacts of the project, BPA previously completed an environmental assessment (EA) following the procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 2017.

The 2017 EA analyzed the Hills Creek-Lookout Point transmission line rebuild, as well as a no-action alternative. Upon completion of the final EA, BPA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact on September 5, 2017. The project was then delayed for several years. Due to changes in project scope, a supplement to the 2017 EA analyzed the potential for any additional effects to resources.

In the development of the 2017 EA, the US Forest Service was a cooperating agency, as the agency needed to consider whether to issue a special use permit to allow BPA to realign short sections of the line within the Willamette National Forest. In September 2021, the US Forest Service reviewed the Supplemental EA and determined that the project remained consistent with their 2017 land use decision.

The proposed schedule for the environmental review is as follows:

Supplemental EA

Fall 2021                     

Finding of No Significant Impact (if warranted)

Fall 2021

If decision to build, construction start

Fall 2021

Current Status

BPA has released its Supplemental EA and separate Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) documents. The BPA FONSI includes a Mitigation Action Plan to help avoid or lessen potential impacts.

Contact

For environmental information, contact

Beth Belanger
Environmental Protection Specialist
Flux Resources, LLC
Bonneville Power Administration - ECT-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Direct line: 503-230-7579
Email: babelanger@bpa.gov

 

For project information, contact:

Jeff Flansburg
Project Manager
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-TPP-1
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA 98666-1409
Toll-free: 800-622-4519
Direct line: 360-619-6571
Email: jtflansburg@bpa.gov

Documents

SUPPLEMENT ANALYSES
SA - 01                                        (06/13/2022)

SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
FONSI:
FONSI/Mitigation Action Plan (November 2021)
Public Letter  (11/18/2021)

Supplemental EA:
comments received
Supplemental EA (October 2021)
Public Letter (10/18/2021)
Comment Form (10/18/2021)

Scoping:
Comments received
Public letter (04/20/2021)
Comment Form                    (04/20/2021)


ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
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)