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Home arrowNews arrowIntersection of Transmission Line with Regional and Tribal Concerns Results in Comprehensive Agreement for Way Forward

Intersection of Transmission Line with Regional and Tribal Concerns Results in Comprehensive Agreement for Way Forward

An agreement has been reached on historic preservation issues for the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line, a 300-mile-long transmission line stretching from near Boardman, Oregon, to near Melba, Idaho. The Idaho Power Company proposes to construct, operate, maintain, and eventually decommission the 500 kV transmission line that would cross various federal, state, and local jurisdictions and require permits from multiple federal agencies. The completion of this Programmatic Agreement (PA) resulted from extensive consultations with local, state, tribal, and federal entities led by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Section 106 provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act.

The core stipulations of the PA build on similar agreements signed in recent years for other transmission lines, such as the Gateway West and TransWest Express PAs . Of note in this PA, Appendix B, “Visual Assessment of Historic Properties Study Plan,” provides a detailed methodology for addressing indirect effects. It also provides a visual assessment form that will be used for historic properties within the viewshed of the transmission line. Another outcome of the consultations is that the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) Tribal Historic Preservation Officer were invited to sign as signatories, due to possible indirect effects to lands within the boundaries of the state of Washington and the Umatilla Reservation. As is normal, the Oregon and Idaho State Historic Preservation Officers signed as signatories because the proposed transmission line runs directly through lands within their states. Two Indian tribes-in addition to the previously mentioned CTUIR signing as a signatory-signed the PA as concurring parties: the Burns Paiute Tribe and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.
In developing this PA and its innovative Appendix B, the BLM, which served as the lead federal agency:
  • consulted with seven other federal agencies: the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Forest Service, Bonneville Power Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service, and Fish and Wildlife Service
  • reached out to nine Indian tribes and consulted with the following five tribes: the CTUIR, Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, the Burns Paiute, the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, and Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation
  • consulted with the Idaho Power Company (Proponent)
  • consulted with a state agency: Oregon Department of Energy
  • included other local regional consulting parties: the Oregon-California Trails Association, Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council, and Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail Foundation

The successfully negotiated PA was executed on February 28, 2017.

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