Northern Mid-Columbia Joint Project (DOE/EA 1945)
Douglas and Chelan Counties, Washington
BPA had ongoing discussions with members of the Northern Mid-Columbia Study Team (BPA, PUDs of Grant, Chelan, and Douglas counties in Washington) on how to address deficiencies in the Northern Mid-Columbia transmission system that could cause power outages. Solutions were explored that would meet each utility's electric reliability needs. These discussions led to an agreement between BPA and the three county PUDs to jointly propose and fund the Northern Mid-Columbia Joint Project (Joint Project).
The Joint Project would require Douglas PUD to design, build, own, and operate a 230 kilovolt (kV) transmission line. The line would extend from Douglas PUD's Rapids Substation in the city of Rock Island to BPA's Columbia Substation, approximately eight miles to the southeast. Both endpoints of the proposed line are in Douglas County, Washington. To interconnect the proposed line to the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS), BPA would add a bay to the Columbia Substation.
Two transmission line route alternatives are being considered for the proposed transmission line (See Revised Project Map). BPA is also considering a No Action alternative, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act. A preferred alternative has not been selected at this time.
The East Route alternative is on the east side of the Columbia River, entirely within Douglas County. It would follow Highway 28 for approximately three miles, then diverge from the highway and climb a steep slope, traverse land on top of the plateau that is mostly cultivated, descend the plateau near Palisades Road, and terminate at the Columbia Substation. All lands along the East Route are privately owned except for several parcels owned by the US Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The East Route was modified by deleting Segment A through the city of Rock Island and a crossing of Highway 28 was moved further south to avoid a lake and a home.
The West Route alternative would begin and end in Douglas County, with the majority of the route in Chelan County. It would require two crossings of the Columbia River, but would traverse more level terrain than the East Route. Most of the route would be within existing utility corridors. All lands along the West Route are privately owned except for one parcel owned by the WA Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The only modification to the West Route is minor: the northern crossing of the Columbia River was moved downstream about 170 feet, parallel to an existing Douglas PUD line.
BPA and Douglas PUD staff held a public meeting on November 14, 2012 at the Douglas County PUD auditorium in East Wenatchee, WA. Project staff members were at the meeting to hear ideas, discuss possible routes, and accept comments related to the scope of the environmental analysis.
The public scoping comment period began on October 26, 2012 and ended on December 14, 2012. BPA and Douglas PUD received 15 written comments about the proposed project, in addition to comments received at the public meeting. Comments were received from private citizens, a Tribe, local governments, and state and federal agencies. A comment summary can be found in the DOCUMENTS section below. Comments that were received can be seen in their entirety on the Northern Mid-Columbia Joint Project comments page.
BPA will prepare an Environmental Assessment (EA) to understand the potential environmental impacts of the Joint Project. The EA will analyze the East and West routes (potential Build Alternatives) and a No Action Alternative, which assumes the project would not be constructed. The EA will describe the existing environment, anticipated impacts to natural and human resources from the alternatives, and mitigation measures to avoid or minimize impacts. The BLM may decide to be a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EA and Douglas PUD will cooperate with BPA in the preparation of the EA.
Starting this winter, Douglas PUD and BPA will begin collecting environmental data and conducting engineering surveys for the project. The preliminary EA is expected to be released for public review and comment in early 2014. A public meeting will be scheduled to accept comments and answer questions. Based on the analysis in the final EA, BPA will either prepare a Finding of No Significant Impact and decide whether to proceed with the project, or will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement if there is the potential for significant environmental impacts.
For more information on this project, please contact:
Alaric Hsu, BPA Project Manager (General project questions and interconnection questions)
Bonneville Power Administration - TEP-CSB-2
P.O. Box 61409
Vancouver, WA 98666-1409
Direct phone 360-619-6331; toll-free 1-800-282-3713
Kimberly St.Hilaire, BPA Environmental Protection Specialist (Environmental review questions)
Bonneville Power Administration - KEC-4
P.O. Box 3621, Portland, Oregon, 97208-3621
Direct phone 503-230-5361; toll-free 1-800-282-3713
John Brown, Douglas County PUD (Transmission line route and landowner questions)
Direct phone 509-881-2297
Jerry Kyle, Douglas County PUD (Transmission line route and design questions)
Assistant Manager-Distribution Engineering
Direct phone 509-881-2234
Project Scoping Summary Letter (35Kb pdf) (03/07/13)
Summary of Public Scoping Comments (37Kb pdf) (03/07/13)
Revised Project Vicinity Map (1.4MB pdf) (02/01/13)
Letter to the Public (38Kb pdf) (10/26/12)
Comment Form (39Kb pdf) (10/26/12)
Reply Postcard (50Kb pdf) (10/26/12)
Project Vicinity Map (1.2MB pdf) (10/19/12)