The Greater Echanis Wind Projects are on private (and some state-owned) land. Because the transmission line connecting them to the grid must cross federal lands, an EIS is required. Granting an easement for the transmission line on federal lands amounts to a “connected action” enabling the wind projects. For that reason, the EIS evaluates:
- direct impacts of the transmission line across federal lands;
- indirect impacts of a permitted 104 MW wind farm on private lands; and
- cumulative impacts of three additional wind farms proposed.
Several alternative routes are being analyzed, as well as a “no action” alternative.
- The Draft EIS provides a comprehensive, independent analysis of the Greater Echanis projects’ environmental effects and mitigation measures.
- The Bureau of Land Management serves as the lead agency for the Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and process. Cooperating agencies include:
Harney County, Oregon
US Army Corps of Engineers
Burns Paiute Tribe
US Fish & Wildlife/Malheur Wildlife Refuge
US Fish & Wildlife/Environmental Services
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
- A private consulting firm under contract with the BLM prepares the EIS at the expense of the project developer, Columbia Energy Partners (CEP). CEP also pays for the BLM’s time and expenses with the process.
- The Draft EIS contains approximately 1,000 pages of text, maps and photographs and visual simulations. The Table of Contents includes links to individual chapters and sections.
- Stakeholders will have 45 days to review and comment on the Draft EIS. Members of the public can access the document in its entirety here.
- Next step: After the comment period, the BLM and cooperating agencies will work with the independent contractor to analyze and respond to comments in a Final EIS (FEIS). The Final EIS will also either select a route or recommend the “no action” alternative. The BLM expects to issue the FEIS in the fall.