Morse: The life cycle is backward

To the Editor:

“Life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time, all your weekends, and what do you get at the end of it? Death. A great reward. I think that the life cycle is all backward.

You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you should spend 20 years in an old folks home; then you get kicked out because you’re too young. You get a gold watch and go to work for 40 years; you’ll then be young enough to enjoy retirement. You go to college and party till young enough for high school. You become a little kid with no responsibilities at all and soon are a small boy or girl. Soon you return to the womb and spend the last nine months floating, then finish off as a gleam in someone’s eye.” -- George Carlin

Leonard Morse

La Grande

Kreider: Our loss is Idaho Power’s gain

To the Editor:

The Bureau of Land Management’s approval of the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission line is only one step among many before Idaho Power hopes to begin construction of the B2H. The company has permission to cross BLM land. That is less than half the length of the line. Next they face the U.S. Forest Service, Public Utility Commissions in both Idaho and Oregon, the Oregon Facilities Siting Council and, if all those bureaucratic hurdles are cleared, then likely lawsuits by the Oregon California Trail Association, the STOP B2H Coalition, agricultural interests and residential property owners. That is why completion of the B2H, initially planned in 2006, has continuously been pushed back and why many transmission line projects are fraught with cost overruns or canceled before construction ever begins.

The projected line will gouge a 250-foot-wide clear-cut across 300 miles of Eastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho. BLM has made no provision to protect views from the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. There will be 180-foot transmission towers marring the view, and the line will cross the ruts of the Oregon Trail in at least eight locations. This is Oregon’s history. We can’t see it sacrificed for an unnecessary transmission line.

More than 100 pages of substantial comments have already been filed with the Oregon PUC, highlighting Idaho Power’s flawed risk analysis structure and projections of energy needs biased toward greater consumption, even though across the nation and in Idaho energy consumption has decreased for the past 10 years. In its comments, the Sierra Club noted, “This is a justification, not an analysis.”

The Stop B2H Coalition maintains that Idaho Power has not adequately addressed the uncertainty of future coal, gas and renewable energy prices and transmission costs. Data has been selected to support building a transmission line. That’s how utilities make money — building things. A guaranteed 6.7 percent profit based on the company’s share of the $1.2 billion B2H will benefit Idaho Power shareholders at the expense of Oregon and Idaho ratepayers. The line will be obsolete before it’s completed. It must be stopped before construction begins.

Fuji Kreider

La Grande

McHaddad: Translator district requests comment on policies

To the Editor:

The Blue Mountain Translator District is reviewing proposed board policies related to the collection of service charges for properties outside the district. Currently, the district directly executes state law related to the collection of these policies, but the law, ORS 354.690, does not specify details for implementation.

ORS 354.690 simply requires that the district “prepare a verified report” noting that a physical inspection of a property led to reasonable grounds to believe that the property can receive television signals, before sending a service charge letter to the property owner by mail to verify whether signals are used. The district has no obligation under ORS 354.690 to provide the date of the inspection, explain the reasonable grounds for sending a service charge letter, or conduct these inspections on a regular basis.

Proposed policies may be viewed at e-Fees-for-Property-Entirely-Surrounded-by-the-District-.pdf. Contact the district at 541-963-0196 or to provide comment.

Alex McHaddad

BMTD secretary/treasurer

Baker City

Carbiener: BLM’s approval of B2H is ‘absolute disaster’

To the Editor:

As everyone now knows, the proposed Boardman to Hemingway power line project across Eastern Oregon, from the Columbia River to west of Boise, Idaho, has just been approved by the BLM. The BLM’s decision is an absolute disaster for the Oregon Trail and a slap in the face to all those immigrants and their ancestors.

Construction of a parade of towers nearly 200 feet tall, which can be seen for miles, would desecrate not only the remains of the trail itself but compromise the views essential to the experience of the historic legacy. There are only about 50 miles of visible trail left in all of Oregon. Instead of running the power line through Idaho, Idaho Power will dig up the landscape and our history for a 250-foot-wide clear-cut gouge. More than 400 miles of new access roads will be built, and some certainly will cause damage to fish and wildlife as well as to the trail.

The project is headed by Idaho Power Company, with PacifiCorp and Bonneville Power paying most of the permitting costs. Construction has not yet been agreed to by either of the other parties. Idaho Power does not need any new resources until 2029, according to their own data. This $1.2 billion project could well be obsolete before it is build. Ratepayers in Oregon and Idaho will surely see major increases in their electric bills.

Opposition will continue in the Oregon Public Utilities Commission and the Energy Facilities Siting Council. I think that the President of Idaho Power should hear from all of us.

Gail Carbiener