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NEPA Process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions.

Because the project could have significant environmental effects, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being prepared consistent with NEPA. The EIS is needed to:

  • Identify and disclose the potential effects of authorizing the proposed transmission line and to examine a range of reasonable alternatives to the proposed action.
  • Evaluate consistency with federal land use plans.
  • Determine the location and conditions that should be applied to the construction, operation and maintenance of the transmission line on federally-managed lands.

The NEPA process has several key milestones and public participation opportunities which are described in A Citizen's Guide to the NEPA [PDF, 931 KB] and outlined in the NEPA process diagram shown below.

NEPA and the B2H Project

For the B2H Project, BLM is the lead federal agency responsible for NEPA compliance. The process began when Idaho Power submitted applications to the BLM and USFS to construct the transmission line across portions of federally-managed lands.

BLM and USFS initially launched the NEPA process with scoping meetings and a comment period in fall 2008. Comments received during the public scoping period were included in the Public Scoping Report. Following scoping, Idaho Power developed a new proposed route and alternative routes based on public input from its Community Advisory Process (CAP).

In summer 2010, Idaho Power submitted new routes and related documents to the federal agencies. The federal agencies re-opened scoping on Idaho Power’s revised proposed route in July 2010 and conducted additional public scoping meetings in August 2010. BLM compiled the comments received in 2010 and 2008, as well as those submitted through Idaho Power's CAP, and summarized them in the revised scoping report.

BLM used feedback from other agencies and the public, including scoping comments, to help identify issue areas and a range of reasonable alternatives for analysis, which will be documented in the DEIS. The federal agencies will use the analysis in the DEIS, together with other requirements, to determine whether to approve or deny Idaho Power’s application for the project as well as identify mitigation measures.

Next Steps

The BLM and its contractors are currently analyzing comments to help inform the development of the Final EIS, scheduled for release in early 2016. Please check back regularly for updates.

NEPA Process Diagram (Click on graphic for more information)

This image shows the National Environmental Policy Act process. The process begins with the Notice of Intent which initiates public scoping meetings and a 60-day comment period. A draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) will be published and is followed by public meetings and a minimum 90-day comment period. A final environmental impact statement will be published, which includes the agencies’ response to comments on the draft environmental impact statement, and is immediately followed by a 30-day notice.

This website is the joint Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line Project site. While information contained on this site is approved for posting by the BLM, it is not the official BLM website. For more general BLM information, visit the BLM website.