BLM committee sets dates to discuss Gateway West power line

November 29, 2013 

An advisory subcommittee for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will attempt to solve a disagreement over a high-voltage power line's route through Southwest Idaho.

Earlier this month, the BLM approved almost all of the route the 990-mile, 550-kilovolt Gateway West project will take across federal public land in Idaho. But its path through Owyhee County and the city of Kuna is still unknown; the regulators put off that decision indefinitely.

The BLM earlier approved two alternative routes across the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey Area south of Kuna, which had been negotiated by Idaho Power, Ada and Owyhee counties, and others. The compromise largely avoided conflict over the line crossing private land that flared up along other parts of its route.

But as the BLM completed its guidelines for managing National Landscape Conservation Areas — a designation put into law in 2009 by Congress — it discovered it was required to "enhance" the resources for raptors that the Birds of Prey area was designated to protect, BLM officials said. Power lines could not be justified under that criteria. The latest proposal runs through mostly private land in Kuna and Melba and mostly public land in Owyhee County.

Now, a new subcommittee of the BLM's Boise District Resource Advisory Council will hold four meetings in search of a solution. The group will meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5 and 17 and Jan. 7 and 16 at the Boise District Office, 3984 Development Ave. in Boise. The public is invited and can submit oral or written comments.

Any recommendations will go to the BLM and the full RAC by Feb. 28.

Want an agenda or more information? Call Marsha Buchanan, the Boise District's RAC coordinator, at 208-384-3364.

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