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Economic and dam related articles

BPA Proposes Constructing
Line After 6-year Delay

by Staff
East Oregonian, November 3, 2008

McNary - John Day transmission line project aerial map In 2002, Bonneville Power Administration decided to build a 79-mile long 500 kilovolt power line between the McNary and John Day Dams. But it didn't build the line.

It did complete an environmental impact statement and said it put the project on hold "changing energy market conditions." In 2002, BPA planned gas-fired and wind-powered generators in the area but in October of that year the BPA said it put many of the projects on hold because of "market conditions and the need to secure financing."

BPA said it decided to wait until funding was available.

Now, six years later, BPA has decided it wants to build the line. It said it received requests from power generators wanting to use the transmission system in the area.

BPA is preparing a supplementary analysis to see if its 2002 environmental impact study is still valid.

In the mean time, BPA is accepting public comment two times this week, in Paterson and Roosevelt, Wash., or by mail until Nov. 20.

The original study looked at impacts from constructing, operating and maintaining the power line, which would run mostly along the Washington side of the Columbia River. The line would start at McNary in Umatilla and cross the Columbia just north of the substation, then cross the river again at John Day, running through Washington's Benton and Klickitat counties.

Since 2002, BPA said it has purchased a few easements and building transmission tower pads at the Columbia River crossing.

If BPA's studies find it's worth continuing the project, and if the energy agency can meet environmental concerns, it aims to build the line in 2009 and complete it by 2012.

For more information on the project, visit BPA's transmission projects Web site at

To comment on the project, submit them online at, call BPA at (800) 622-4519, fax comments to (503) 230-3285 or mail them to Bonneville Power Administration, P.O. Box 14428, Portland, 97293-4428.

BPA Proposes Constructing Line After 6-year Delay
East Oregonian, November 3, 2008

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