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Late Summer Updates '23 and Reflections

Stop B2H Coalition, September 2023

Disappointment over Eminent Domain Ruling

The Oregon Public Utility Commission has ruled in favor of the Boardman to Hemingway transmission line, declaring it a public necessity and granting Idaho Power a “certificate of public convenience and necessity.” ... Eminent domain should only be used as a last resort, when there are no other viable alternatives to achieve a public good. Read the full Op Ed Here.


Landowners Beware!

Do you have an attorney? Don’t be Bullied and Don’t take Idaho Power's low-ball offers without independent land appraisals and consulting legal counsel. It is essential for landowners to understand their rights and not be bullied into signing unfavorable agreements. Landowners are being asked to sign agreements for allowing the transmission line prior to being provided with detailed maps, and prior to an appraisal that may include e.g.: the value of timber or agricultural products that the owner could produce and sell over the100-year life of the B2H Line.

And if you feel that you are being harassed or bullied, that's another reason for an attorney. Contact us for referrals:

Related...  Federal transmission planning rules

In May, Stop B2H and 16 other organizations and landowners (our national network of groups fighting unneeded or poorly-sited transmission) filed rule comments with (FERC) the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, letting them know that their

"...idea that improving the interaction between transmission companies and impacted landowners would somehow result in happy landowners and a quicker permitting process is a fairy tale."

"...the only thing that will make happy landowners--who do not delay a project with entrenched opposition and appeals--is to begin to build new transmission on existing linear rights of way, such as highway or rail corridors..."


Hot News just in: 

The First of Eminent Domain Lawsuits filed in Baker County!

As reported by the Baker City Herald, Idaho Power initiated a lawsuit on September 11th against property owners who were unable to reach an agreement with the company regarding the easement price. It’s worth noting that Idaho Power’s offer is less than $1,000 per acre. We are yet to fully analyze the situation, but here is the link to the case.

Be Ready: Developments are Coming to a Town Like Yours!

We've been reflecting a great deal lately given the disappointments in recent rulings. All of these led to a guest blog post in member organization, Greater Hells Canyon Council (GHCC)'s newsletter about five over-arching lessons from our seven year campaign to stop B2H. Read the Blog Here.


In June, Stop B2H Coalition Board, Major Donors and Volunteers gathered at Riverside Park in La Grande for a "Dinner with Gratitude" to recognize everyone's contributions and start talking about next steps...

After a few rounds of "Wait Wait, Don't (Screw) Us"!  (modeled after the NPR Saturday radio quiz show) everyone received prizes making it a fun evening with a needed stress-release valve.  

Test some of your B2H trivia knowledge here.

All this reflection -- how about you?  What do you think worked; didn't work?  And, moreover, what should we do next?... Your input will be valuable!  Please respond to our survey - coming soon to your inbox...


Project Updates:

The Stop B2H Coalition will be undergoing gradual transformations, but in the meantime, we persist in our role as vigilant observers of the B2H Project, along with other local and national energy developments.  As we have volunteers to monitor the situation, watch-dog activities will continue across the B2H corridor. Here are the highlights: 

AMENDMENTS:  There are two so far.  Considering the magnitude of the Amendments, they are subject to a "Type A" process which is very similar (a little more condensed) to the original Site Certificate process.

"RFA1" - "Request for Amendment 1"

The first amendment request added over 40 miles of new access roads and about a 1,000 more acres to the site boundary.  A number of people, Stop B2H and the OR-CA Trails Association, filed comments on the draft proposed order and the proposed order, and participated in the public hearings.  In typical fashion, the RFA 1 was approved by EFSC this summer.  On Sept 8th, Stop B2H, Irene Gilbert, and John Williams, filed petitions for a contested case on these amendments.

"RFA2" - "Request for Amendment 2"

This amendment is currently being reviewed for “completeness” by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE). You may remember from 2017 that there is an initial phase in the process where the ODOE first reviews the application submitted by the developer. ODOE will request additional information from the developer or reviewing agencies, and eventually, they will declare the application as “complete”. This marks the beginning of the public process. We will keep you updated on the comment periods and hearings, so stay tuned!

RFA2, including maps, can be found on ODOE's B2H project website. However, please note that the maps provided are not very detailed. Since the inception of the project, STOP has consistently expressed concerns about the lack of detailed maps. These maps are crucial for reviewing amendments because, as we all know, the devil is in the details!



The majority of the mitigation plans have not been finalized (e.g.: weeds, habitat, traffic, noise, cultural and more).  The public does not have a role in the mitigation planning, only the impacted or reviewing tribes and local/state governmental agencies. However, we can let our voices be known to those reviewing agencies!

We learned in our monitoring of the situation that mitigating for the losses of fish and wildlife habitats, Idaho Power has chosen the "banking" approach rather than purchasing any "mitigation sites."  This essentially means that they will pay into a "mitigation bank" where a state agency (for example, ODFW) will purchase or improve habitats for the loss. But, this can happen anywhere there is suitable habitat. It does not require that the mitigation site is near, or even in the same county, where the habitat has been lost!  Monitoring Needed!  If you can help with "watch-dogging," please contact us:


Member Updates:

Umatilla County vs EFSC?

    Recent developments in Umatilla County have county officials at odds with the state's Energy Facilities Siting Council (EFSC). Yup, the same agency that issued the Site Certificate for the B2H.

    Umatilla County has an ordinance for a two mile wind turbine set-back from residential areas. The developer says that's too much; EFSC agreed and is overruling local control by allowing development within a mile. The County objected in a contested case and Blue Mountain Alliance, a Stop B2H member organization, is urging the county to take the issue to the Supreme Court.  See the minutes of recent commissioner meeting.


Funding for Clean Energy? -- Think Local!

    Stop B2H, in partnership with member organization, Oregon Rural Action (ORA), is diligently tracking federal energy programs and funding opportunities that are becoming accessible to a broad spectrum of beneficiaries, including communities, utilities, schools, homeowners, and businesses. These programs will be administered by a variety of entities, including state and local governments, as well as directly to utilities (with a special emphasis on rural cooperatives), schools, businesses, and individuals.

    These programs will utilize a combination of incentives such as tax credits, direct grants, or rebates. Indeed, the roll-out of these programs is not anticipated to be immediate; most are scheduled for the period between 2024 and 2026. However, the Home Energy Programs offer opportunities that are worth exploring immediately.

    We highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with home energy programs this October (refer to “listening sessions” below). The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) will be hosting virtual programs to provide more information. ODOE will spearhead the Home Energy Programs, among other initiatives that will be introduced in the future.

    As we continue to expand our knowledge and involve more stakeholders through our community energy assessment, we will keep you informed. If you’re interested in joining our efforts, please contact us at

Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) will host three listening sessions in October to hear from Oregon residents and Oregon-based organizations on the design of the Home Energy Rebate Programs (see FAQ here)

ODOE FAQ’s about the new Federal Home Energy Rebate Programs coming our way!  

Updates on the Energy Landscape...

Ω   Now Idaho Power wants to upgrade and fire harden.  Exactly what we’ve been hammering about since 2015 – alternative to B2H and more secure!  (if you hit a paywall, you can subscribe for two free articles.)

Ω   An 80-megawatt (MW) battery energy storage system is being installed at Idaho Power's Hemingway substation in Owyhee County, and a 40-MW battery energy storage system is being built adjacent to the 40-MW Black Mesa solar project in Elmore County. 

Ω   A new solar farm north of Ontario near Malheur Drive could furnish cheaper power to the Ontario’s wastewater treatment plant and may save the city close to $50,000 a year.  (subscribe for free for short time, or simple $7.50/month for all Malheur Co news!

Ω   Resiliency, High Winds--easy to read analysis on:  the difficulties utilities face when deciding to turn power off during high-winds.  This is good to know when we are thinking about “Resiliency Hubs”!  

Ω    Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)’s plans to build significant transmission infrastructure to meet growing Northwest loads.  (short, easy read to learn about what’s coming…)

Ω   Given the costs associated with storm-related outages, the question isn’t can we afford to underground more power lines but rather, can we afford not to?

Ω   Virtual Power plants?  Micro-grids?  What are they really? Battery storage and smart appliances make virtual power plants a viable option to address the intermittency of renewable energy (quick easy read).


Curious about the decarbonization of the nation’s grids?  For U.S. grid regions’ emission data, EPA provides recent and historic air emissions, including carbon dioxide (CO2), for U.S. portions of grid regions, States, and Puerto Rico.  And more resources on their site. 


Many of you are in OTEC Country! 

Don't forget to Check Out the Community Solar Project!

Participation is completely voluntary and is being offered as a opportunity for those OTEC member-owners who want solar as part of their daily energy mix. If you are interested, please call OTEC at 541-523-3616. | 541-406-0727 |

Our mailing address is:

60366 Marvin Road, La Grande, Oregon 97850

Stop B2H Coalition is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, registered in the State of Oregon.
Donations are tax deductible.

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