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BPA seeks help determining route of new transmission line

Roseanna Cherrington became nervous when she received a letter from the Bonneville Power Administration asking permission to dig holes in her land. The federal BPA, the Pacific Northwest's largest power marketer, is exploring a plan to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line running about 70 miles from Castle Rock to Troutdale, Ore., to meet growing power demand in the area. The BPA is looking to string the line between a series of steel towers, each about 80 to 150 feet tall.

CASTLE ROCK - Roseanna Cherrington became nervous when she received a letter from the Bonneville Power Administration asking permission to dig holes in her land.

The federal BPA, the Pacific Northwest's largest power marketer, is exploring a plan to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line running about 70 miles from Castle Rock to Troutdale, Ore., to meet growing power demand in the area. The BPA is looking to string the line between a series of steel towers, each about 80 to 150 feet tall.

The proposal is in its infancy, BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said, and the agency is requesting access from landowners to determine the best route to build the line.

The BPA included a map, but it lacks detail, Cherrington said. She's concerned the federal agency could pinpoint her 23 acres of forest land west of Castle Rock, where she's lived for 31 years, as prime space for the project.

"I don't want to live under power lines," Cherrington said.

The BPA is holding a open house about the proposal 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Mark Morris High School, and Cherrington said she plans to be there. She expects neighbors on Cherrington Road will also attend because they didn't realize at first... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CASTLE ROCK - Roseanna Cherrington became nervous when she received a letter from the Bonneville Power Administration asking permission to dig holes in her land.

The federal BPA, the Pacific Northwest's largest power marketer, is exploring a plan to build a 500-kilovolt transmission line running about 70 miles from Castle Rock to Troutdale, Ore., to meet growing power demand in the area. The BPA is looking to string the line between a series of steel towers, each about 80 to 150 feet tall.

The proposal is in its infancy, BPA spokesman Doug Johnson said, and the agency is requesting access from landowners to determine the best route to build the line.

The BPA included a map, but it lacks detail, Cherrington said. She's concerned the federal agency could pinpoint her 23 acres of forest land west of Castle Rock, where she's lived for 31 years, as prime space for the project.

"I don't want to live under power lines," Cherrington said.

The BPA is holding a open house about the proposal 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at Mark Morris High School, and Cherrington said she plans to be there. She expects neighbors on Cherrington Road will also attend because they didn't realize at first blush that the line could affect them.

"People are receiving this and tossing them without any idea of what they are," she said, pointing to the BPA documents.

The BPA sent requests to 8,000 landowners in Washington and Oregon, including Cherrington, to enter and survey their property, Johnson said. Workers could dig small holes - then refill them - to test the strength of the soil, he said.

The BPA has identified 40 different segments to string the line, and the agency is seeking information from landowners about where to build, Johnson said. The BPA is holding six open houses over the next month, including the one in Longview.

"It's critical that we get as much information as we can from those landowners," Johnson said.

The BPA has not identified a preferred route for the line and will analyze the potential environmental effects of the different routes next year, he said. In the spring of 2011, the agency will issue an environmental impact study. A year later, the BPA expects to make a decision on the proposal.

The agency could try to buy the land from private owners to place the towers, Johnson said. If land owners refuse to sell, the BPA can sue to force a sale through the government's power of eminent domain to take land and then compensate the owner.

The BPA doesn't have an exact cost yet, but the line is expected to range in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Johnson said.

Energy usage soared during last year's record cold temperatures and this summer's record heat, and the explosion of wind farms east of the Cascades over the past three years has added to the strain on the BPA's transmission system, Johnson said.

BPA officials say they have a bottleneck of power at the substations west of Castle Rock and near Troutdale. The proposal includes plans to expand and build two new substations to handle power load growth.

The lines would also transmit excessive power the BPA would sell to California and Canada, he said. Those power sales help keep costs down for BPA customers in the Pacific Northwest.

Cherrington said she understands that energy demands are growing, but she doesn't want to give up any part of her property so power can be sent out of state.

"There's got to be another way."


Source: http://www.tdn.com/articles...

OCT 26 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/22871-bpa-seeks-help-determining-route-of-new-transmission-line
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