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Stop B2H Coalition, March 2024

2024 brings the exciting but challenging opportunity of plotting the future of the Stop B2H Coalition.

Since our Donor & Volunteer Celebration in June, we’ve been contemplating options; taken needed breaks and vacations; and still have been active in the “watchdog” activities we anticipated (See Updates Below and in our Late Summer News.)

READ HERE to learn more about where we are going and how to share your ideas, vision, and hopes.  Ω Ω Ω

PHOTO: Winn Meadow, Glass Hill State Protected Area, Union County.


Hot News:  a Big WIN!!!

Irene Gilbert vs ODOE/EFSC

Last fall, Irene charged that the Oregon Dept of Energy (ODOE)/Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) took procedural missteps in denying her a contested case on an Amendment to the B2H Site Certificate. 

ODOE challenged back saying that was solely the Supreme Court's jurisdiction; but Irene prevailed. Since this was not a Final Site Certificate Order, but a procedural complaint, the court decided that it belongs in Circuit Court. A hearing on her contested case petition will be forthcoming.  Here is Irene's court brief which objected to the Motion to Transfer to the Supreme Court.

Photos: Irene in Union County Circuit Court (top right); Irene at Donor-Volunteer Gathering, June 2023 (right)


Project Updates: Amendments to the Site Certificate

Photo: Map/B2H: Near Morgan Lake Park, Union Co.  

In Yellow, the wider Site Boundary Requested in Amendment2. Left Grey Bar, is current approved route.  (above)

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 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 and participated in the public hearings.  In typical fashion, the RFA 1 was approved by EFSC last summer.  In Sept, Irene Gilbert filed her "Request for Judicial Review" (see story above.) It's not over, til its over...

"RFA2" - "Request for Amendment 2"

This amendment is HUGE:  additional half-mile to the width of the site boundary! (See sample map above; full map sets here (scroll to Figure 8-1) and micro-siting additions here, Figure 4-1.)  Plus, 40.2 miles of 500-kV transmission line alternatives, 47 miles of new or substantially modified access roads, and the addition of temporary construction work areas.  

They are also requesting to amend specific Site Certificate Conditions (e.g.: removing requirements for 'pre-surveys' for species like sage grouse); and adding a "Midline Capacitor Station" to "boost" the energy at the half-way point. It's proposed location would be adjacent to the existing substation and wind farm in Union County; and more... [Note: It's disingenuous of IPC to not have included a Midline Capacitor Station in the original application. Of course their engineering team must have known that it would have been needed!]

The RFA2 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 ODOE reviews the application submitted by the developer/Idaho Power.  Once it is deemed "complete," the Public Process begins.  You can preview RFA2 and maps on the project site (scroll down for links to maps and "Revised Preliminary Request for Amendment 2 (pRFA2).

Deja Vu?  ... Yes, or very close.  Generally the amendment process is more condensed than the full Site Certificate process that we've endured for years.  However, most RFAs are not this big! Hopefully we are more knowledgeable this time; we certainly have honed and seasoned our expectations.  Look for Action Alerts Soon.

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NEW Rules for Contested Cases at ODOE/EFSC?

Never a dull moment when it comes to ODOE and changing rules to disadvantage the public. Stop B2H activists have been involved in the Rule Advisory Committee (RAC) but as we experience way to often, we are out-gunned by developers!  Hence, we made some impact in the draft proposed rules but certainly not enough. 

The new proposed Rules for Contested Cases are open for review and Public Comment. A Public Hearing will be held on March 22nd in Hermiston, and written comments are due on April 19th. Action Alert coming soon!

Are you receiving notices or updates about the B2H from Oregon Department of Energy?

Be sure that you are on their mailing list! They have a few and you can customize.  Some people have had problems with their website in signing up, so stay persistent and contact them (or us) if you can't sign up or aren't receiving notices.

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Member Updates:

Landowner Happenings:

> Stop B2H members who are also impacted due to being landowners are gearing up with their own attorneys to help them with easement negotiations and settlements, both in and out of court. Idaho Power's offers have been insulting and their contractors are bullies. Be sure to get legal advice!

> Only a few landowners are still in the fight pushing for better siting or other mitigation conditions. Stop volunteers have been helping some landowners with maps or providing information to attorneys who may otherwise not be informed of B2H.  We cannot help in all instances, but feel free to reach out if you need guidance.

> If you need some help navigating the on-line Wildfire tool, our Morrow County Stop B2H-ers have shared this Tips Sheet, "Using the Landfire Tool."

Another Amendment to Wheatridge?!:

Many members in Umatilla and Morrow Counties, may want to take notice and participate in the latest Wheatridge Wind Farm Amendment. A Public Hearing for the Draft Proposed Order (DPO) is on March 21st in Hermiston and Comment deadline is April 4th (scroll down.) Similar to enormity of the B2H's RFA2, this Amendment request is not only large, it includes a substation (likely to support the Hydrogen Hub and/or natural gas pipeline); it relocates transmission and undergrounds some; and more!  The conflict between this "green energy corridor" (as its been portrayed) and the B2H corridor is very obscure and confusing. 

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 the county's local control by allowing development within a mile. The County objected in a contested case and Blue Mountain Alliance, a Stop B2H member organization, urged the county to take the issue to the Supreme Court -- which they are!  Stay tuned for a court date. 

Funding for Clean Energy? -- Think Local!

As part of our transition planning, and in a natural evolution from years of studying energy industry innovations, Stop B2H (in partnership with member organization, Oregon Rural Action), is diligently tracking federal energy programs and funding opportunities. Opportunities 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.

Most recently, STOP volunteers have been meeting with key stakeholders and local government officials about organizing a Community Energy Assessment for Union County, similar to Wallowa and Lake counties.  If you'd like to learn more or be involved in planning and community resiliency, get in touch!

Cartoon shared by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance sez it exactly as we see it too!  

The only problem is that the corporate utilities don't make money this way; 

they have the cartoon in reverse! 

"SUM: If you are pro-transmission without also supporting serious structural reform of our #transmission planning and building process, without prioritizing upgrades to existing wires and distributed energy, then you aren’t serious about solving the transmission problem."


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.