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Resource Advisory Council Subcommittee      
Gateway West Transmission Line      

The BLM Boise District Resource Advisory Council (RAC) has formed a subcommittee to examine options for siting segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West project.

sketch of double-circuited transmission line tower


READ> Memorandum establishing subcommittee

Subcommittee members | * indicates Boise RAC membership

  Neil Rimbey* & Karen Steenhof*, co-chairs 
  Gene Gray* 
  Donna Bennett 
  John Chatburn, Idaho Office of Energy Resources  
  Rick Raymondi* 
  Greg Nelson, Mayor of Kuna  
  Danielle Murray, Conservation Lands Foundation  

EMAIL a comment or question about the Gateway West project

   :: Meeting 

Dec.05.2013 | Boise 

Dec.17.2013 | Boise

Dec.31.2013 | Boise

Jan.07.2014 | Boise

Jan.14.2014 | Boise

Jan.16.2014 | Boise

Feb.26.2014 | Boise

Mar.10.2014 | Boise

Mar.18.2014 | Boise 

Mar.27.2014 | Boise

Apr.02.2014 | Boise

Apr.18.2014 | Boise

Apr.30.2014 | Boise


Snake River Canyon with powerline route graphic (Google Earth image)

Subcommittee Tasks
  • Examine options for resolving siting issues 
    associated with segments 8 & 9 
  • Consider possibility of new routes 
    not considered in the project EIS 
  • Determine whether there are additional issues 
    or concerns
    that were not addressed in the environmental analysis of segments 8 & 9 in the EIS 
  • Evaluate any new information or modifications 
    to the alternatives that were analyzed in the Final EIS 

 Criteria for evaluating a potential route
    • Greater sage-grouse populations & habitat
    • Raptor populations & habitat
    • Habitat for other species of interest
    • Historic Trails
    • Cultural resources
    • Land ownership, including private land
    • Visual resources
    • Vegetation
    • Agricultural operations
    • City limits/municipal areas
    • Military installations (Orchard Combat Training Center)

Snake River valley farms along south bank

Morley Nelson atop a powerline tower with a nesting raptor

The subcommittee is examining the issues that surround the option of siting a new transmission line in the Birds of Prey NCA. 

Congress established the NCA in 1993 for the "conservation, protection and enhancement of raptor populations and habitat" while allowing "for diverse appropriate uses of lands in the area to the extent consistent with the maintenance and enhancement of raptor populations and habitats." 

The NCA became part of the National Landscape Conservtion System (NLCS) when that system was created administratively in 2000.  Congress codified the NLCS (Public Law 111-11) in 2009 to conserve and protect the resource values stated in the legislative langauge that created each NLCS unit while allowing compatible activities and uses of lands within the NLCS unit.

graphic dot greenA compatible use is one that does not conflict with the resource values 
    identified in the legislative language that created the NLCS unit.

BLM policies developed pursuant to P.L. 111-11 call for avoiding right-of-way grants (ROWs) within an NLCS unit "to the greatest extent possible."  If a route outside the NLCS unit is feasible, it is preferred.  If a ROW is granted, the policy states that it must protect "the values for which the components of the system [here, the NCA] were designated." 

If it is determined through NEPA that the only viable route for a project is through the NLCS unit, then impacts must be mitigated. 

Current Status

The subcommittee is working to identify and evaluate options for routing segments 8 & 9.  Some preliminary routes are shown on the map at right — click on the image to view at full size. 

Private landowners along these preliminary routes have received a letter notifying them that some route options the subcommittee is considering may include or affect their land, and inviting them to participate in the subcommittee process. 

Starting with the list of criteria above, the subcommittee has developed a list of constraints and features of routing alternatives for segments 8 & 9 that can help measure some of the potential effects of siting the line in various locations. 

The subcommittee will use remaining meetings to continue working on their assigned tasks.  The meetings are open to the public and will each include time for public comment and questions.  Comments are most welcome and may be submitted in writing, via email, by phone, or orally (during the public comment period at a meeting).   

The subcommittee is expected to report at the May 28, 2014, meeting of the full RAC.



map showing some options for routing Gateway West segments 8 and 9


Last updated: 04-03-2014