Gateway West Transmission Project draws public critisicm

Credit: Adam Worthington/KTVB

Gateway West Transmission Project draws public critisicm

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 3:51 PM

BOISE -- The first interstate high tower powerline project to be proposed in decades is drawing a lot of attention right now.

The Gateway West Transmission project is a high priority project for the Obama administration and Idaho's Republican senators and representatives are calling on you to make your voice heard with "strong public input."

The first in a series of Bureau of Land Management public meetings is underway at the Boise Hotel and Conference Center.

The proposed 1,100 miles of transmission lines would run through southern Idaho and Wyoming -- and some are worried about where the lines might go -- and others about the process.

The western-most portion of the Gateway West Transmission Project is south of Melba, where the pretty, new Hemingway substation is right now.

The transmission lines would run through both private and public land. The lines would be high voltage.

"Transmission lines are like the freeway of electricity transport," said Idaho Power spokesperson Lynette Berriochoa. "So it's high voltage so that it can move long distances, and then as it reaches cities, it will kind of branch off and come into the city, so to speak. Kind of like a freeway off-ramp, and then it will go out to homes and businesses, and the voltage is just continuously stepped down then so that ultimately you can use it at home."

The BLM's preferred lines for the project are being discussed at the public meetings this week.  They are similar to Idaho Power's.

Some people are concerned about the transmission lines being near the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

Others, including Idaho's congressional delegation, are concerned about the BLM creating new preferred lines after people most affected by the project had already worked with Idaho Power on a route.

The meeting at Boise Hotel and Conference Center goes until 7 p.m. Monday.

The public comment period runs through June 28.

Another meeting will be held Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m in Kuna in the old gym, then in Murphy on Wednesday, and Melba on Thursday. 

Next week, there are meetings in the Magic Valley and eastern Idaho.

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