On May 7, 2007, Idaho Power Company and PacifiCorp (doing business as Rocky Mountain Power), applied to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for a right-of-way (ROW) grant to use the National System of Public Lands for portions of the Gateway West Transmission Line Project (Gateway West or Project). The original application was revised in October 2007, August 2008, May 2009, and January 2010 to reflect changes and refinements in their proposed Project and in response to public feedback regarding routing alternatives.
The BLM published the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for this Project on April 26, 2013, and a Record of Decision (ROD) on November 14, 2013. In that ROD, the BLM deferred offering a ROW grant for 2 of the 10 segments (i.e., Segments 8 and 9) to allow additional time for federal, state, and local permitting agencies to examine additional routing options, as well as mitigation and enhancement measures for these segments in and around the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.
The Proponents submitted a revised Project application for Segments 8 and 9 in August 2014. Segments 8 and 9 as now proposed would require amendment of one or more BLM land use plans, including the Twin Falls Management Framework Plan (MFP), the 1987 Jarbidge Resource Management Plan (RMP)1, the SRBOP RMP, the Bennett Hills/Timmerman Hills MFP, and the Kuna MFP.
On January 19, 2017 the BLM Director signed a record of decision approving Segments 8 and 9 of the Gateway West Transmission Project in which two decisions were made: (1) a decision approving the right-of-way (ROW) grant to use public lands, and (2) a decision approving amendments to five land use plans that are necessary to ensure that the ROW grant would conform to the applicable plans. Four appeals were filed with the Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) against the BLM decision. On April 18, 2017 the Gateway decision was remanded to BLM as requested.
On May 5, 2017, House Resolution (H.R.) 2104 - Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area Boundary Modification Act of 2017 (Modification Act) – was signed into law. The BLM is directed by the Modification Act to issue, within 90 days of the Act, a ROW for the lands described in Sec. 2(b)(2) of the Modification Act for portions of Gateway West Segments 8 and 9. A ROW grant will be offered by August 3, 2017. The BLM views this statutory ROW as a connected action affecting the Decision being reconsidered in authorizing segments 8 and 9 for the Gateway West Transmission Project and will prepare an Environmental Assessment and Resource Plan Amemdment to complete the permitting action.