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Hooper Springs Transmission Project (DOE/EIS-0451)

Caribou County, Idaho


    BPA is proposing to build a new 115-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that would extend from BPA's proposed Hooper Springs Substation near the city of Soda Springs, Idaho, to a proposed BPA connection facility that would connect with Lower Valley Energy's (LVE) existing transmission system in northeastern Caribou County, a distance of about 22 to 32 miles depending on the routing alternative. BPA also would construct an approximately 0.5 mile-long 138-kV transmission line between the proposed Hooper Springs Substation and PacifiCorp's existing Threemile Knoll Substation to connect the electrical facilities to the regional transmission grid. The project is needed to improve voltage stability on the transmission grid to meet future load growth in southeast Idaho and northwestern Wyoming.

    Two routing alternatives are being considered for the proposed line from the Hooper Springs Substation to the connection with LVE's transmission system: a North Alternative, including two route options and a South Alternative, including five route options. BPA is also considering a no action alternative, that is, BPA would not build the transmission line. BPA also considered but eliminated from detailed study several other potential alternatives, including potential non-wire solutions (for more information on non-wires, please visit: BPA Non-Wires Initiative Information. BPA has not identified a preferred alternative at this time.

    BPA is the lead agency for preparation of the EIS. The U.S. Forest Service, Caribou-Targhee National Forest (C-TNF), U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the State of Idaho's Office of Energy Resources are cooperating agencies and have assisted with preparation of the EIS, including assisting BPA in evaluating transmission line alternatives and identifying issues that should be addressed in the EIS.


    In May 2009, BPA issued a preliminary environmental assessment (EA) (DOE/EA-1567) for BPA's proposal to construct, operate, and maintain Hooper Springs Substation and to partially fund LVE's construction, operation, and maintenance of a new 22 mile, 115-kV transmission line. The proposed line considered in the preliminary EA extended from the proposed Hooper Springs Substation generally northeast across C TNF, BLM, and private lands along the Blackfoot River, connecting with an existing LVE transmission line near the intersection of Blackfoot River Road and Diamond Creek Road.

    Based on comments received on the preliminary EA, BPA discovered that the proposed route identified in the preliminary EA (the current South Alternative) crossed one or more areas that have selenium soil contamination from phosphate mining activities. Because of environmental and other concerns about these sites, BPA decided to develop an alternative transmission line route (the current North Alternative) for consideration and determined that preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project is appropriate.


    BPA released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in March 2013, for public review and comment through April 22, 2013. A public meeting was held on April 3, 2013 in Soda Springs, ID to gather comments and answer questions on the draft EIS. All comments received are posted online on the Hooper Springs Transmission Project comments webpage.

    Since release of the draft EIS, BPA has continued to evaluate comments and suggestions received. As a result of this evaluation, BPA has identified a potential new routing option for a portion of the South Alternative. Among other things, this new routing option would cross through Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area. While similar to South Alternative routing options included in the draft EIS, the new routing option was not specifically evaluated in the draft EIS. BPA therefore will prepare a supplemental draft EIS to include evaluation of this routing option in detail.

    BPA is beginning work on the supplemental draft EIS for the project. The supplemental draft EIS will include responses to all comments received on the draft EIS and consideration of Option 3A as a routing option to the South Alternative. BPA also plans to identify a preferred alternative in the supplemental draft EIS.

    As we prepare the supplemental draft EIS, BPA staff and contractors will continue to refine and evaluate project alternatives and options so you may see these specialists working in the area. BPA expects to complete and publish the supplemental draft EIS in spring 2014, and will host a public meeting to gather comments at that time. We expect to publish a final EIS in late fall 2014 followed by a record of decision in early winter 2014 that will explain BPA's decision about whether to build the project and, if so, the alternative or option selected.


  • For environmental-related information, contact:
    Tish Eaton, Environmental Lead
    Bonneville Power Administration - KEC-4
    P.O. Box 3621
    Portland, OR 97208-36211

    Direct line:


    For project-related information, contact:
    Erich Orth, Project Manager
    Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-TPP-3
    P.O. Box 61409
    Vancouver, WA 98666-1409

    Direct line:



    (All documents are in pdf format unless otherwise noted)

    Caribou County Commissioner Meeting (Video mp3) (6/25/2012)
    Caribou County Commissioner Meeting (Video mp3) (9/24/2012)

    Public Letter (54 Kb) (10/22/2013)
    Project Map - update (297 Kb) (09/13/2013)
    Public Letter - update (31 Kb) (06/27/2013)
    Draft EIS Volume 1: Environmental Analysis (10.6 Mb) (March 2013)
    Draft EIS Volume 2: Appendices (12.6Mb) (March 2013)
    Draft EIS Public Letter (33 Kb) (02/27/2013)
    Draft EIS Comment Form (46 Kb) (02/27/2013)
    Project Map - update (340 Kb) (11/8/2012)
    Public Scoping Letter (28 Kb) (06/30/2010)
    Comment Form (20 Kb) (06/30/2010)
    NOI (30 Kb) (06/29/2010)
    Preliminary Project Map (1.70Mb) (June 2010)

    Public Letter Announcing Preliminary EA (44 Kb) (05/12/2009)
    Comment Form (18 Kb) (May 2009)
    Preliminary EA (1.50Mb) (May 2009)

    Figures not embedded in the Preliminary EA
    Figure 1 Project Vicinity (653 Kb)
    Figure 2 Map Book Index and Map Sheets (1.60Mb)
    Figure 11 Water Resources (948 Kb)
    Figure 12 Land Use (320 Kb)
    Figure 13 Visual Resources (411 Kb)

    This project was formerly called the Caribou Valley Energy Project. The documents below were released before the project name was changed.

    Photomap of Proposed Transmission Line Route (698 Kb) (6/18/2007)
    Public Letter (34 Kb) (6/16/2006)
    Open House Information (63 Kb) (June 2006)
    Comments from Open House (10 Kb) (June 2006)
    Project Map (1.2MB) (5/24/2006)
    EA Determination (32 Kb) (April 2006)
    Map of Southeast Idaho Electrical System (682 Kb) (July 2003)

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 Page last reviewed on 4/18/2013 2:32:15 PM