Craig Mountain Today
Craig Mountain Today
But for how long???
fgrv logo

header text 2

Craig Mountain Simulation
Craig Mtn simulation with turbines
view south toward Ramo Flats
Action Alerts & Announcements
also check Calendar & Events for details

If you have any experience regarding weeds, roads, water, geography, wet lands,
wildlife, archeology, historic sites, recreation, etc. let the city or county know!


                billboard at Rufus x600
prevent our wildlife - health - environment - economy
from being thrown to the wind!
Your generous donations . . .
help us educate the public about the
true impact of wind energy.  

Please send your donations to:   
PO Box 116
Union, OR 97883
Make your check payable to FGRV.* 
For more info call 541-910-8263
* As a 501 (c)(3) donations are tax deductible
FGRV Radio Ads
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Mother Nature   
Bad Neighbors
3% Energy Challenge

more info                   
56 worldwide experiences 

Energy facts & figures
compliments of Irene
          Energy and the Taxpayer
Federal subsidies for electric power by
source, fiscal 2010

                       Total             Dollars per
                (in millions of $)   megawatt hour
Oil and Gas        $654            $0.64
Hydropower         215             0.82
Coal                  1,189             0.64
Nuclear              2,499             3.14
Solar                     968         775.64
Wind                  4,986           56.29

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy and Institute for Energy Research, 2011
reprinted in Wall Street Journal
August 17, 2012

FGRV challenge ad
3 % Challenge Begins
in Front Yards Across
Grande Ronde Valley

blue not green

Hawkish on wind 

our wildlife - health - environment - economyfrom being thrown to the wind!

A few tips to conserve energy ...
  • Reduce your usage of what you already operate.
  • Plug your appliances and electronic equipment into a smart strip and when you're not using them,  simply turn off the smart strip.
  • Wash your clostes in cold water.
  • Run only full loads in your dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Air dry dishes rather than using heated drying cycle.
  • Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 120°.
"Energy efficiency is still the best buy ..." NW Power Council 

* In the U.S., the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. Department of Energy projects that wind's share of electricity porduction will be less than one percent in 2030.
      Listen Sunday  4-5 PM pst 

Tools to Use

"I've taken the 3% Challenge"  
Print, distribute,  fill out, stamp & mail to FGRV

3% Energy Challenge   Money in the Pocket  You have permission to use our radio ads
FGRV 3% Challenge flier 
Print and distribute to others, mail them, hand them out  

3% Challenge Yard Signs
Call 541-568-4585 to get a sign

prevent our wildlife - health - environment - economy from being thrown to the wind!

or we will lose ...
  • The Oregon Trail
  • 75 Golden Eagles observed
  • Native Indian archaelogical sites
  • Home of Redband Trout
  • Pristine view of Craig Mountain
  • 58 Active Raptor nests
  • Pathway for migratory birds to Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area
  • 154 combined wetlands, streams and forested areas
  • Rare plants including extremely rare Oregon Semaphore Grass
  • Habitat for resident and migratory bats and birds
  • Winter range for Elk, Antelope and Deer
  • Home of Eagles, Hawks, and Woodpeckers

FGRV Yard Sale nets $875

During Union's Grassroots Festival on August 13th FGRV added $875 to its war chest for 
future projects and possibly legal actions in its continuing fight to keep more wind industrial complexes out of the Grande Ronde Valley.

A bake sale and information table provided a little extra benefit to those stopping by for a good deal.  Of course the best deal was the printed info and SWINDLE bumper stickers that were handed out. 

Thanks to energetic FGRV members headed by orgainizer Bonnie Dunn more people have joined the fight while these funds were raised.
* Grassroots Festival provided another venue for the 'grassroots' efforts of FGRV. 

* Union was highlighted as Oregon's 'Volunteer Town' in a PBS documentary several years ago.  FGRV members continue the volunteer tradition by giving their time, talent and treasure to protect the Grande Ronde Valley.  

Protected eagle halts
Eastern Oregon
wind farms


by Ted Sickinger The Oregonian 9-29-10

    The endangered golden eagle has grounded the first wind farm in Wasco County and is throwing another in Gilliam County into doubt.
read the rest of the article

turbine lightning
                    strikes again
Lightening Strikes Again
Idaho Power website gives
up todate info on what wind

actually brings to the consumer -
higher rates. 

Find the following articles at

Idaho House, Senate Request
Changes to PURPA
by Michael Foley, Idaho Power

Ontario'w Wind Policy Blows
by Rob Granatstein, The Toronto Sun

Are Tax Incentives for Commercial Wind Farms Good for Idaho?
by Steve Priebe,
Idahoans for Responsible Energy Policy

Idaho Senate kills much-debated
energy rebate extension ...
by John Miller, Daily Reporter April 7, 2011

excerpt:  “We already give them massive federal subsidies,” Christensen told The Associated Press after the vote. “If they can’t survive on those alone, they should not have any more of our taxpayer dollars.”
read the entire article

Editors note:  several attempts by Idaho's grassroots groups failed but they finally suceeded! 
Our Congratulations to them for their efforts, and determination and victory.

  A cruel truth ~~ There will be very few permanent jobs created once the wind factory has been built.  The hype is usually about the jobs during the short construction period; nevertheless, the bulk of construction is typically completed by labor imported into the area.

Wind power is a technological, economic
and environmental failure." 
John Droz, Physicist

Wind farms are not farms ...
they don't grow anything.
We call them factories.

Turbine Ablaze
turbine ablaze

Call, write, email
our county commissioners
and tell them

STOP wind power in Union County

Steve McClure

Mark Davidson

Bill Rosholt

1106 K Avenue
La Grande, Oregon 97850
phone: 541-963-1001
Fax: 541-963-1079

How is this green?
In Baotou, China, where neodymium is extracted, a vast man-made lake of foul-smelling radioactive waste, five-miles wide, has been created from the by-product.  It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China's key waterways in jeopardy.  One of the largest users is a top- capacity wind turbine that uses 4,400 lbs. of the neodymium-based permanent magnet material.

In advisory vote,
eastern Oregon

residents reject
proposed wind farm
by Bill Rautenstrauch / The Observer 11-3-10

By a slim majority Tuesday, Union County voters said they don't like the idea of Horizon Wind Energy building the 300-megawatt Antelope Ridge Wind Farm near Union. 

Excerpted from the article Dennis Wilkinson, the head of Friends of Grande Ronde Valley said:  "With the defeat of Measure 31-75, the people of Union County have made an informed and educated decision that they do not want the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm in their community."  ... the vote will "resonate throughout the country proving that people in rural communities are standing up to the foreign corporations that are attempting to destroy the land, way of life, wildlife, health and more in the name of 'clean, renewable energy."
click to read entire article   
thanks to

Union County
Election Results
November 2, 2010   
  Totals 11/03/10  3:16 AM  All 19 Precincts Counted  70.98 voter turnout   total ballots cast  10,810
Measure 31-75 
"Do the citizens of Union County support the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm application currently before the Oregon Department of Energy?"  
Yes 5,060 votes (48.09%)  
NO 5,462 VOTES (51.91%)


A Beacon Hill Institute & Cascade Policy Institute Policy Study     March 2011
David G. Tuerck, PhD   
Michael Head, MSEP    
Paul Bachman, MSIE

This study takes into account a variety of factors and their effects to Oregon's employment, costs to industry and the public. 

excerpts from Executive Summary: 
Since renewable energy generally costs more than conventional energy, may have voiced concerns about highter elecrticity rates.  Moreover, since Oregon has a liited ability to generate new renewable energy, the state will start from a low power generation base.  In addition,m some renewable energy sources (wind and solar power in particular) require the installation of conventional backup generation capacity for cloudy, windless days.  The need for this backup further boosts the cost of renewable energy.

Oregonians will begin to see these higher costs on their electric bill this year.  Pacific Power and Portland General Electric Implemented rate increases (in some cases double-digit percentage increases) directly tied to SB 838.    read the entire study

Taxpayers subsidize
wind power at $23.34 per MWH,
natural gas at 25¢ per MWH,
coal at 44¢, and
hydro power at 67¢.

Tax dollars still blowing in the wind

by The Oregonian Editorial Board March 15, 2011

excerpt:  Oregon has stopped throwing money at anyone who mouths the magic words:  "Green energy."  But a three-part series in The Oregonian made it clear this week that the state must further tighten the rules --- and the oversight --- of its Business Energy Tax Credit program.

excerpt:  Given the enormous cost, the green subsidies demand stronger scrutiny from lawmakers, the governor and the public than they've received.  Former Gov. Ted Kulongoski's energy policy --- y'all come --- ignored the mounting cost until hundreds of millions of dollars were committed, no small amount of it to companies that failed to live up to the promises of jobs, economic development and green energy.

excerpt:  ... If we're going to toss $300 million to green energy developers every two years, we should know exactly what we're getting in return. 
click to read the entire article

The proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Factory will have 164 towers, 40 stories tall and will destroy 47,000 acres sensitive wildlife habitat.
Materials used in the factory will be:
  • 4,723 tons of non-biodegradable fiberglass blades
  • 139,400 gallons of petroleum-based oil
  • 66,155 cubic yards of concrete*
  • 46,000 tons of steel and rebar
  *Did you know?
Concrete production is one of the most energy intensive of all
manufacturing processes  and accounts for 5-10% of the world's CO² emissions?

Reasons for projected OTEC

rate increases in 2011

thanks to Super Talk Radio
KLBM 1450  Pod Casts 9-16-10

Werner Buehler, OTEC's General Manager, and Steve Schauer, OTEC's Manager of Member Services discuss a BPA wholesale rate increase scheduled for October 2011.
Date: Thursday, September 16, 2010
Part 1, length 8:25
Part 2, length 9:52

When Green Subsidies are gone this is what is left!

Komoa wind farm abandoned
Komoa wind farm abandoned

Komoa view

The Gas Is Greener
by Robert Bryce June 7, 2011
published in The New York Times

With all the 10's of thousands of wind towers that are scheduled to be erected   throughout the US, it has been estimated that they will only provide less than 3% of our energy production.

Since wind's potential contribution is so small, modest conservation would avoid the adverse impacts of wind energy development, according to National Wind Watch.

Oregon green energy tax breaks
face sweeping changes, cutbacks

Harry Esteve  June 9, 2011
published in The Oregonian

Editors note:  This article discusses Oregon House Bill 3671

excerpt:  "As written, the bill would stop the practice of subsidizing half the construction cost of wind and solar energy developers, who receive tens of missions of dollars worth of tax credit."
Here's the link to the full article

Article 52 Proposed Additions / Changes
Submitted to Union County Commissioners
2-24-18 authored by Jed Farmer, John Milbert, Chuck LeBold, Ray Randall; sent to Commissioners January 2018

Union County Article 52  "Therefore, the purpose of this ordinance is to clarify existing rules governing the siting and development of wind generators with the intention to encourage wind power renewable energy resource development."
Proposed Additions / Changes to current Article 52 was Submitted to Union County Commissioners January 2018 by authors Jed Farmer, John Milbert, Chuck LeBold and Ray Randall as members and on behalf of Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley. 
    Set backs is a major part of the proposed changes.  Currently set backs are 1500 feet.  Umatilla County has increased their set back to 2 miles.     
    County Commissioners Work Session April 11th 9 AM agenda will be The Proposed Additions / Changes.  Location of the meeting is Joseph Annex Building 1106 K Ave., La Grande, Oregon. 

public comment for submission for SB 1519 and SB 1537
by Irene Gilbert FGRV / Legislative Analyst February 5, 2018
included is PDF Irene sent to Senator Beyer and Committee members

I am providing this submission to you as my previous comments were written under the belief that these rules were going to remove rule making from the Energy Facility Siting Division and Energy Facility Siting Council. 

Unfortunately, as I found out during public comments today, they exclude this group.  The bills are positive, unfortunately, they do not include the worst offenders.  I certainly hope there is some effort to address the Siting Division this session rather than continuing to allow ODOE to work for developers at the expense of the public.

As long as the governor continues to appoint people to the Energy Facility Siting Council like Marcia Grail who currently works for IBEW 125 and their retirement fund, the only possible way to get a neutral evaluation of developments is through removing control over portions of the process from the Oregon Department of Energy.  I question how impartial a person can be who knows that every time she votes to approve a development, she is making jobs for her employer.  Perhaps someone can find out who vetted Marcia and why they did not question the conflict of interest, or why the governor has insisted that this does not pose a conflict of interest.

Wishing you peace
December 30, 2017


Energy Department and council
under fire for cutting out public

from The Oregonian  12-13-17
read the full article in The Oregonian

    The state panel responsible for siting large energy facilities is under fire for adopting rules that conservation groups and others say will limit transparency and cut the public out of decisions.   ...
    In the end, critics say it's another example of the dysfunctional Energy Department ignoring the public interest, interpreting rules and statues unlawfully, and cozying up to the industry that pays its bills.   ...
    Irene Gilbert, a La Grande resident and researcher for the Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley, has opposed numerous windfarms in Eastern Oregon based on their impacts on wildlife, wetlands, noise levels, and their visibility from towns or areas designated as wild and scenic. She says the council, at the recommendation of the Energy Department, has denied every one of her requests for a contested case. By her count, the council has rejected more than 80 requests for contested cases and not granted a single one.  ...
   "They control the whole process, and their determination over and over again is no significant impact," she said. "They get paid by the applicants. They bill for every hour of work on an application, then charge developers to monitor projects. So, in effect, they're working for the applicant."   ...   

FGRV meeting 2 PM December 14, 2017
posted 12-9-17
Agenda includes Updates on ODOE / EFSC activity & county Article 52 status.
See date on Calendar & Events page for more info
Location is downstairs at Union Library in City Park on Main Street


from B2H coalition 10-28-17

DATE &TIME: Thursday Nov 2nd 6:00 PM,
Four Rivers Cultural Center, Ontario, Oregon

Taking Public Comments:
This isthe only meeting that the Oregon PUC
will hold away from Salem.
They are doing that because you can be affected
 and you should have your say.

Early next year, the Oregon PUC will be deciding
whether to accept Idaho Power’s resource plan.
That plan says that electric demand is growing in the
Idaho Power service area. It isn’t as you can see below:
Transmission Tower

Idaho Power’s own sales figures show that demand has been flat for ten years. You will pay if the line is ever built, and you will also pay Idaho  Power a guaranteed profit for building it. Come to the meeting to voice your concerns to the members and staff of the Oregon Public Utility Commission. It’s very important and they want to hear from you.

THIS IS THE TIME TO MAKE YOURSELF HEARD: Idaho Power customers will pay hundreds of millions of dollars for a line that may never be needed.
For more information, contact:
August 23, 2017 Meeting 6 PM
Union County & City of La Grande 2nd Joint Public Meeting

on location of B2H Transmission Line

The Union County Commissioners and City of La Grande are hosting a second Boardman to Hemingway siting meeting. It will be on Wednesday, August 23rd at 6 pm in the Blue Mountain Conference Center (aka the Armory). Since we had over 140 people at the last meeting they are moving the event to the big conference room. We’d like to fill the room to express our support for our elected representatives in letting Idaho Power know that their transmission line is not welcome here!

The county and city are in the process of reviewing Idaho Power’s application for “completeness” and there are huge gaps in the application. We have found many areas where Idaho Power has missed key information that should be considered by the State of Oregon before determining that the application is complete. Heck they didn't even know we have a helipad at the hospital for life-flight. Their report does not describe in detail the 100+ miles of new or improved roads they want to build; nor proper weed or fire protection plans. And the list of incompleteness goes on…

At the meeting the city/county will inform us on the work that they have done so far and they are asking for all of us to help. YES, asking us to help! The application is HUGE and there is a limited amount of time to submit comments to the state.

If you have any experience regarding weeds, roads, water, geography, wet lands, wildlife, archeology, historic sites, recreation, etc. let the city or county know!

The full application is on Union County web site at If you have any knowledge in any of these areas, please get involved!

There will be future opportunities for public comment as the state process progresses over this coming year. We need to make sure that the state considers everything that could negatively impact our homes and our environment. We need to be heard and our elected representatives want to hear from us – how often does that happen ;-)!

For more information:  Contact Union County directly 541-963-1001;
or, Stop B2H Coalition:

Pass the Word!  Forward this email & look forward to seeing you there!  -Stop B2H Coalition

August 14th meeting in Baker County Commissioners' Chamber


  B2H Transmission Line

DATE AND TIME:  Monday, August 14th, 2017 at 5:00 pm at the Baker County Commissioners’ Chamber, Baker County Courthouse

The County and City have until September 1 to make comments before Idaho Power’s application is accepted as complete by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE).  The county and city want to know your opinion about the impacts this transmission line will have on the valley and YOU.  Idaho Power is only notifying landowners within 500 feet of these steel giants, which they are planning. 

The line will enter the valley from Ladd  Canyon by I-84 coming into Baker County; travels due south along the eastern edge of irrigated, agricultural fields and passes west (in front of) the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center; then continues south to Durkee and Huntington, and passes east of the Oywhee Reservoir into Idaho. 

Come to the meeting to talk to our elected officials with your questions/opinions and conditions you want to see them recommend. 

THIS IS THE TIME TO EXPRESS YOUR CONCERNS regarding impacts to views, wildlife, police and fire, noise, traffic, groundwater, flooding, agricultural and forest impacts such as invasive weeds, setbacks from homes, the Oregon Trail, including the viewscape impact from the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, and historical resources, etc. 

For more information, contact:


AUGUST 1ST @ 6pm 



Union County & City of La Grande
Joint Public Meeting


Idaho Power’s
Amended Preliminary Application
for Site Certificate

for Boardman to Hemingway
Transmission Line (B2H)

transmission tower &

Last week, the Oregon Department of Energy informed local government units along the B2H route that they would have until September 1st to comment on the “completeness” of Idaho Power’s Amended Application for a “Site Certificate” (or, in other words, the application for a permit for the right of way to build B2H.)  There are NO public hearings at this stage of the game in the Oregon siting process but there will be later in this process.  However, Union County and the City of La Grande have graciously agreed to conduct their own public meeting to solicit input from citizens, before they comment on the application

The meeting will be starting at 6 pm on Tuesday, August 1st at the Blue Mtn Conference Center (aka Armory) at 404 12th Street in La Grande.  PLEASE Mark your calendars NOW!

The County and City have until Sept. 1 to make comments before Idaho Powers application is accepted as complete by the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE).  The county and city want to know your opinion about the impacts this transmission line with have on the valley and you. Idaho Power is only notifying landowners within 500 feet of these steel giants which they are planning.   

The line will enter the valley from the west where the current 230 kv does then run behind the hospital, over Morgan Lake road, and follow the foothills alongside Ladd Marsh, visible to all, and out Ladd Canyon by I-84.

Come to the meeting to talk to our elected officials with your questions/opinions and conditions you want to see them recommend. THIS IS THE TIME TO EXPRESS YOUR CONCERNS regarding impacts to views, wildlife, police and fire, noise, traffic, Ladd Marsh, groundwater, flooding, agricultural and forest impacts such as invasive weeds, setbacks from homes, the Oregon Trail, historical resources, etc.

The format will be informal in that no decisions will be made and there will be no strict times for speaking—more of a listening session—according to Commissioner McClure.  He wants to hear from everyone!  He says now is the time to put all of your concerns on the table about the B2H and/or the sighting application. He has asked Idaho Power to come and present too.  They will have their maps and renderings—probably similar to what we showed you in our last Stop B2H newsletter, but fancier (if you did not receive our newsletter—or couldn’t open it, please contact us right away.)

The Stop B2H Coalition’s research working group is meeting this week to coordinate our research and writing for the citizen portfolio that we will be submitting soon to the Public Utility Commissions of Idaho and Oregon (PUC's) – AND – also to prepare for this meeting!  At this stage, it is important to let the public officials know:

·         What you think the city and county should be looking for in the application for completeness.*

·         What conditions you want them to insist will be in the Site Certificate (if one is granted.) 

·         And, of course: What is important to You!

We hope to post some talking points for everyone later in the week. However, the main thing is to show up!  Speak from the heart (or mind) and tell your story.  You do not need to be an expert.  However, if you would like to prepare more yourself, here is the link to the Amended Application: 

It is overwhelming!  So, a tip for review would be:  go to the Chapter/Exhibit that you are interested in; read the section that you have an interest (or the geographic areas you're interested in); and see if they have covered your concerns.  This will make your reading shorter & directly in line with your interests.

For more information:  Contact Union County directly 541-963-1001; or, Stop B2H Coalition:

Two proposed DOE rule amendments below
by Irene Gilbert FGRV / Legislative Analyst February 13, 2017

Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) Public hearings February 23 and 24, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 8:30am – 5:00pm Cousins' Country Inn, 2114 W 6th St, The Dalles, OR 97058, USA
Friday, February 24, 8:30am – 2:00pm    Cousins' Country Inn, 2114  W 6th St, The Dalles, OR 97058, USA 

The Department of Energy is planning to implement two amended rules which will cause irreparable damage to Wildlife and citizen's right to due process when actions are taken to build energy developments in the state.

I encourage you to review the attachments and consider submitting comments and objections to the impacts they will have.  Public hearings will be held on these two rule amendments on February 23 and February 24.



The Department of Energy (DOE) is once again demonstrating that they should not have control of the hearings process.  Currently the DOE is the only state agency which writes regulations, receives incomes from developer applicants, controls who is allowed a contested case, and hires its own hearing officers to hear contested cases about their decisions.  The proposed amendments reinforce the existing process; they lack objective criteria necessary for guiding transparent, equitable decisions.  The current 8 pages of rules are being replaced by 32 pages of amendments, all apparently designed to deny the public access to the decision making process.  To date, DOE has a 100% record.  It has denied every request for a contested hearing on amended site certificates.  The new and confusing rules will further complicate the process and guarantee the same questionable outcomes.


The proposed rule changes will:

            Continue to give the DOE and EFSC total control over who is allowed a contested case hearing.

Create procedural barriers to further complicate the process and provide additional procedural justifications for 100% denials of contested case requests.

            Increase time to process amendment requests.

            Increase costs to developers requesting amendments.

            Allow DOE to hire additional staff to deal with the new process which developers will have to pay for.

             Eliminate required notification to all special advisory groups when amendment requests are being reviewed.

            Eliminate required evaluation of an entire development’s impacts when processing amendment requests to increase the size of a facility.

            Allow waiving some requirements of the proposed rules for developers; no such waiver will be available to the public.

             Fail to provide the objective criteria necessary for evaluating contested cases  based on the impacts of given amendments.


You are strongly encouraged to submit comments regarding these amendments.  They are unnecessary, burdensome, costly and, in several areas, inconsistent with Oregon statutes.


Attached are the specific rules which are going to change.  Feel free to sign this in its entirety or pull from it any information or references you wish to emphasize.


Irene Gilbert, Legal Research Analyst

Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley

2310 Adams Ave.

La Grande, Oregon   97850




Community Announcement

December 15, 2016
La Grande, OR
Contact: Jim Kreider

Union County Board of Commissioners work session:
Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Line (B2H)

The Union County Board of Commissioners will hold a Work Session regarding the 305 mile Boardman to Hemingway (B2H) Transmission line that is proposed by Idaho Power, on December 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Misener Conference Room, 1001 Fourth Street, La Grande, OR.

At the Work Session  there will be a presentation, a "360 view of B2H from a citizen's perspective."  Instructions, talking points and protest letters  will be shared and details on how to file a protest and/or comment on the Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS) will be discussed. The Final Environment Impact Statement (FEIS) was published on November 25, 2016 and the deadline for filing protests and comments is Christmas Day and must be mailed and postmarked by December 23, 2016 in order to be received on time.

The 360 presentation will: 1) look Idaho Powers Integrated Resource Plan which is the document that starts the process of building the transmission line and the role the Idaho and Oregon Public Utility Commissions play in the process; 2) the role BLM plays in developing the Environmental Impact statement for federal lands, and 3) the role that the Oregon Department of Energy's' Facility Sitting Committee plays for locating the line on private and state lands. Seventy percent of the transmission line will be on private land.

If this transmission line is build it could become a de-facto utility corridor and other utilities could use this right of way for their projects.

For more information contact, Jim Kreider at

"Hello" to Stop B2H Coalition Members and Others
from Jim Kreider of the Stop-b2h coalition 12/07/16

Hello Stop B2H Coalition Members & Other interested parties, 


By now, you may have been notified about the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) on the Boardman to Hemingway project last Friday. There is limited time—only 30 days for public comment--so much for Senator Wyden’s request for more time?!  The comment period is also limited to “protest comments” on technicalities of the FEIS and/or the Land Use Plan amendments of the BLM and USFS. 


While this may sound like too much to take on, especially over this holiday timeframe, take a breath and we’ll attempt to simplify and prepare. That said, this is a work in progress and expect that you will receive more emails from us over the next few weeks.  What follows are:

·         some initial pointers for better understanding the 3000+ pages and maps!;

·         how you can learn more;

·         how you can prepare for submitting your public comment; and

·         as an FYI: a brief summary of our strategies and progress to date.


Pointers:  These are a few tips we have learned over the past week. As we understand the document better, we will share anything new.

·         Go to the B2H web site or the local library to read the FEIS. 

·         There is much confusion with the executive summary narrative, including maps and tables because they continue to intertwine the, “Applicant’s Preferred Route,” the “Environmentally Preferred Alternative route,” and the “Agency Preferred Alternative.”  When reading be sure you are clear which they are talking about.

·         If you go to the web site there is a cool new feature that BLM added to the maps: i.e. Interactive Maps.  Here, you can use the filtering feature called “Layers” to examine parts of the routes in more detail.  For example, you can filter by land use, ownership, sage grouse habitat, historic trails, and more. It also has a feature where you can put in your name or address (or someone you know) and see it pinned on the maps.

Pointer: once you put in a name or address and click "go" the results appear in the lower right of the page and you might have to scroll down to see the results. Then you'll need to click on the name or parcel identifier and scroll back up to the map to see the results. Then normal Google map controls work. Nice.

·         One of the most important parts of the Maps (Project or Interactive) is to be clear on the “Agency Preferred” which is the light blue line.  Why they confuse it with all the others is well?... being comprehensive I guess?

·         The Table of Contents (including Acronyms) is 50 pages!  However, if you don’t understand their format it will be difficult to jump to the place you want to read.  Probably good practice to read the Exec Summary (only 72 pages); but it is confusing because it references the links to all the sections. My head was spinning.  The outline of the document was much clearer after studying the table of contents.  Then, I knew which sections to go to—for my own interests.  You will likely need to do the same.

·         Finally, if you received a packet with a DVD and packet of printed maps—beware!  These maps are NOT the Agency Preferred Alternative!  Rather, they are simply all the alternative and variations that they studied.


Learn More:  If you would like to talk about this, feel free to call or email Jim or Fuji anytime.  We are anticipating a public informational meeting the week of the 12/12 or 12/19; and we will keep you informed.


Preparing your comments:  The “Dear Reader” document attached to the FEIS, outlines the structure and rules for submitting protests/comments.  It also states that this is “not a public comment period but a protest period.”

·         You have every right to comment!  They may not consider your comments; however, we advise that you still “go on record.” This might be helpful if we ever need to litigate.

·         We will need to submit our protests/comments in writing (via mail post or overnight.) You may submit via email; but it must be followed up by a written document.  This is different from the Draft EIS. This is important for your timing—remember these are due on 12/25 - Christmas. (Their gift to us?!)

·         There is an outline of what the “protest” comment should contain within the Attachment with the “Dear Reader.” 

·         We hope to have talking points or other information to help you with your comments by the week of the 19th. We will send another posting that week.  Sorry for the tight timeline; but I guess that’s part of the X-mas gift? ....  Plz mark your calendars.


Strategies:  The following correlates to our Stop B2H 4-pronged strategy. It is only informational.


1)      Protest/Comments on the Federal Environmental Impact Statement & Land Use Plan Amendments: all of the above.


2)      Utility ‘Need’ & PUC regulatory processes:  a number of us continue to attend the monthly Idaho Power Co (IPC) Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) meetings to learn –and hopefully debunk—the utility’s “need” for the project. This is a parallel process to the federal EIS process; but I wanted you to know that while it could be a long shot, we believe we have made significant headway.  Briefly, we have learned that IPC is consistently under-reporting their energy conservation and over-forecasting their energy need!  We have made new and unusual allies. The biggest thing to know is in the end, it will be the Public Utility Commissions of both states who will allow the utility to forward the costs on to the ratepayers.  If this is not approved; the project will unlikely proceed. Anyway, if you are interested in this, I can tell you more on a phone call.


3)      State of Oregon Dept of Energy’s Energy (ODOE) Facility Siting Council (EFSC): there are a couple of areas we have been working to prepare in anticipation of the EFSC process, which is another entity involved in siting the transmission line, specifically on state and private lands which is about 70% of the length. The County’s B2H Advisory Committee should have public briefings from ODOE staff early in 2017 to explain more of their regulations to us/the public.  Secondly, a number of rulemaking changes have been proposed by ODFW/ODOE/EFSC. The reason this is important is because some of the proposed rules will lessen wildlife protections for siting wind farms and other energy facilities. One person in our group follows this closely and a number of us have submitted public comments/testimony. Another comment period is ending on 12/16. Pfff… like we don’t have our hands full already?!  If you'd like a copy of our summary and suggested comments to ODOE let me know.


Finally, we have also participated via comment, to the State Legislature’s Oversight Committee on the ODOE. Save you the details, but it’s about the fact that ODOE is an agency that forecasts, plans, sites, monitors, regulates, etc… all within one agency including hiring their own hearing officers and doing their own rulings on “contested cases.” It is a bit of a revolving door with state and industry people trading roles over the years – like, the “fox watching the hen house.” We would like to see some of the agency broken up and housed in other state agencies. Again, if you are interested in this, I can tell you more on a phone call.


4)      Coalition Building:  basically we have 5 organizations who have joined our Stop B2H Coalition and we are looking for more. We foresee this going on for a while longer; and so, the more the merrier?!  The other thing is that we might find ourselves litigating somewhere along the line & fundraising for an attorney which be critical.


Hope this informs you well.  Moreover, we really hope that we can count of you for your continued interest and support over the next couple of weeks!


All the best,

Fuji Kreider


Your Letters of Concern requested by Stop-b2h
from Jim Kreider of the Stop-b2h coalition 10/28/16

Concerned Friends,  

The Joint Intern Committee on Department of Energy Oversight will be having a meeting on November 4, 2016. Their agenda is here.

The Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) has had a troubled past that is effecting our future. This bipartisan committee has asked for citizen  input on how to improve ODOE’s operations. Currently ODOE writes, applies, and interprets the rules, controls the hearings process, and monitors compliance to its rules. Their performance has been less than stellar. The Oregonian has done several stories on the ODOE and this story gives a nice overview.  

The oversight committee will review and discuss recommendations that have been made to them by the public on November 4, 2016. Our voices need to be heard! 

Our friend, Irene Gilbert, Legal Research Analyst for Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley (FGRV) has been urging us all to submit comments and has shared many draft ideas and letters to submit. 

These draft ideas and letters have been merged into one letter that we all can send to the oversight committee. In order to focus our voice we’re using Their web tools allow people everywhere to start campaigns, mobilize supporters, and work with decision makers to drive solutions. This is the link to our letter/petition and we ask that you go there, read the letter, and sign the letter/petition. The letter will go to all the oversight committee members and you’ll get a confirmation email.

If you’d like to personalize or edit the letter/petition and send it yourself to the committee members their email addresses and the letter is below. 

================= If you’d like to edit and send separately =======================

These are the members of the oversight committee ...

senator Lee Byer :
senator Alan Olsen at:
senator Chris Edwards at: 
senator Doug Whitsett at:             
representative Jodi Hack at:                                          
representative Cliff Bentz at:  
representative Jessica Vega Pederson at:
repesentative Paul Holvey at:

Use this to cut and paste the names above into the to header of your email program.,,,,,,,,

If you use this method please cc me at so we can track responses. Thanks!

 This is the letter ...

To:          Joint Legislative Oversight Committee Department of Energy

Re:         Testimony - ODOE Oversight Committee Hearing Nov 4th  

The State of Oregon’s Energy Siting Process and Department of Energy (ODOE) have long been problematic and I am grateful that this committee has been established to investigate and make recommendations for improving or changing the Department. Thank you for your good work.

The main problem that I see is that ODOE controls all parts of the siting and oversight of energy developments in the state. They write the rules, apply the rules, interpret the rules, control the hearings process, and monitor compliance with the rules. The ODOE hires their own hearings officers who consistently support the department's recommendations. There is no place to file complaints/appeals  if the hearings officer behaves in an unethical manner. There has been a lack of accountability for the projections energy developers are making, a failure in assuring ongoing compliance with site certificate requirements and a failure to allow public access to the increasing amount of information which is developed or changed after the site certificate is issued.  

There is a growing lack of credibility within the Oregon Department of Energy, confirmed and fueled by media coverage, resulting in a lack of trust that their siting process and monitoring processes are fair and neutral. Please consider implementing some of the suggestions below. I understand that there will be multiple options available to you, but please take at least one step forward in the direction of improved accountability, transparency and effective public policy implementation. The first five recommendations are structural in nature and the remaining are more process or procedural. 

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please keep me informed of the work and recommendations of this Committee.  


Suggestions for Committee Consideration

#1.  Remove the whole Siting Division or at a minimum, remove the Contested Case process from the control of the Oregon Department of Energy.

The Contested Case process is probably the biggest “hot button” item within ODOE. This function needs to be transferred out of the department if any credibility to the state’s siting process is to regain trust. 

ODOE has shown little or no interest in addressing problems with the process. They were directed to make changes to the contested case process for amended site certificates two years ago. They have yet to update the rules. The Administrative Judges are employees of the ODOE and they are quick to deny standing to parties opposing development or aspects of a development. They only allow hearings on specific siting requirements as opposed to hearings based upon other related rules such as a decision to ignore timeframes, failure to follow procedures, etc.  They require details in contested case requests that are not required by the statutes or rules; and they have never allowed even one contested case on an amended site certificate no matter how great the changes being proposed are. Finally, they require strict adherence to judicial rules from the public even though this is a quasi-judicial process.  These are just a few of the numerous complaints that have been placed on the record from lay persons, attorneys and organizations throughout the state claiming unprofessional and biased handling of contested cases.

I believe Contested Cases should be transferred to Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC). Site certificates are basically a land use determination and LCDC already handles most land use contested cases. This would be a logical fit.

#2.  Eliminate the Energy Facilities Siting Council (EFSC) or separate them from ODOE.

The people on the Council are political appointments. They may not have the expertise to make the decisions regarding the siting of energy developments in the state. As a result, they simply approve whatever recommendations come to them from the ODOE staff. If ODOE is going to be making the decisions, they should be held accountable for those decisions and the results. There is no point in having another layer of bureaucracy when they are not really serving any purpose other than rubber stamping decisions being made by ODOE. 

If it is determined that EFSC should still exist, then it should be moved under the Office of Administrative Hearings where it would be required to adhere to the hearing procedures that other agencies are required to follow. 

#3.  Move the staff currently responsible for monitoring compliance with the site certificate requirements to Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHA).  Include processing of complaints in that position description and allow the public access to the results of the monitoring visits.

There is a growing lack of credibility within the ODOE resulting in a lack of trust that their monitoring process is fair and neutral.  This perception is magnified by the fact that the monitoring results are not made public.  Currently, monitoring appears to focus on the types of activities occurring at the site rather than evaluating whether or not the site certificate requirements are in place.  There is no third party testing or audit verification to show whether there is compliance with such items as noise to determine if the projections were accurate. Adding to this issue is the fact that a “Public Complaint process” is not consistently available and the results are not compiled so that problems can be categorized, analyzed and systematically addressed. 

Oregon OSHA is in the business of conducting inspections to determine whether or not businesses are in compliance with regulatory requirements.  Oregon OSHA staff receive ongoing education in relevant topics such as Violation Identification and Documentation, Environmental Hazards, Noise, Report writing, Electrical, etc. which are topics necessary to perform this function effectively.  Oregon OSHA also has Industrial Hygiene staff qualified to do testing, including Noise Monitoring to confirm that developers are not exceeding the limits.  Since the statutes state that the developer is responsible for paying for staff work required to issue and monitor site certificates, this would be budget neutral for Oregon OSHA.  It makes sense to place the monitoring and enforcement duties under an agency which specializes in doing regulatory-type work.

#4.  Allow the individual Counties to decide whether they want to process Energy Facility Applications, Requests for Amendments, and Site Certificates for any size development that will be constructed within the boundaries of a single county.  This could be a function delegated by the state to counties.

The Oregon Department of Energy is removed from the resources and protections necessary to maintain the quality of life at the local level. They make decisions absent an understanding of the significance of protected areas, local geology, and why local land use plans include the protections they do. The Oregon Department of Energy is quick to revert to the general rules included in the state land use plan and override the wishes and intent of the local communities. Frequently they use the statement "no significant impact" to describe impacts that most people living in an area would consider major impacts on their environment. 

Most counties that currently have wind farms or other energy developments have already gone through the siting process for at least one industrial energy development. For example, Baker County, Union County, Morrow County, Umatilla County, Harney County, Sherman County and Deschutes Counties have all sited wind developments. Allowing the siting to occur in the counties impacted by the development is more likely to assure appropriate siting locations which honor the resources important to the people living in the area and supports better relationships between the developers and the communities impacted by the developments.

#5.  Establish a third party location for people to lodge complaints regarding the Department of Energy as well as energy developments (e.g.: wind, gas, solar, transmission, etc). 

These complaints could then be tracked and, hopefully, addressed prior to them becoming significant political issues. The information would then be available to the department, the legislature and the public and should reinforce the fact that progress is being made in reducing the number of concerns regarding the department and the site certificates that they are issuing.

Currently there is no designated repository for complaints regarding the Oregon Department of Energy or individual energy developments. As a result, by the time issues raise to the surface, it is often in the form of a newspaper article or other public forum. There would be an advantage to the persons siting energy developments, as well as the legislature in identifying what the bulk of the concerns are as this would provide an opportunity to be proactive in addressing them prior to them becoming larger.

#6.  The minutes of the Energy Facility Siting Council need to include information about the content of the public comments so that the reader knows what the concern was or the recommendation that was made.

The recordings of the Energy Facility Siting Council should be available on line just like the legislature hearings are available for the public to review immediately after the hearings are heard.

The minutes of the meetings are not posted until several months after the meetings are held and they do not include important information regarding the public comments that are made. This means that no action occurs on public comments and the public is discouraged from making comments.

The Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) or Department of Energy (ODOE) should be required to make some kind of response to formal public comments. Either answer the question, say what they are going to do about the issue, recognize in writing that they got a comment and what they are going to do about it, or not do anything, etc.

The minutes of the meetings do not say what the public comments were or what the Energy Facility Siting Council action or response is. They only make vague statements that someone made a public comment or that someone made a public comment on a topic, but not what the comment was. The public does not believe that there is any point in making public comments as no one listens or cares what they have to say. The current system makes people believe that it is a waste of their time to even try to give information during the public comment periods since nothing will come of it.

#7.   Require a showing of “need” prior to issuing a site certificate. 

There was a presumption that market forces would control the number and timing of applications for site certificates when the rule was enacted. That has not occurred. This has been partially due to the number and amounts of subsidies and tax credits available to wind and solar developments. What has actually occurred is that developers have gone through the process of obtaining site certificates even though there was no market for the energy they would produce. These developers have asked for multiple amendments to the site certificates due to changes in the technology and to keep the site certificates active in the hopes that there will be a market for the energy at some future date. 

This has resulted in ODOE spending hundreds of hours processing site certificates and amendments on developments that have never been constructed. In the meantime, the material in the files has become more and more dated. It also has resulted in active site certificates which are for developments that have not been constructed. This makes it difficult to assess the actual impact of these developments on the resources of the state or to have a realistic sense of what the cumulative impacts of the multiple developments will be on the environment and quality of life for those living in proximity to the planned developments.

#8.   Require notice to property owners within one mile of a proposed energy development that a proposal has been made to build a development within a mile of their property.

Currently the notices are only sent to people living within 100, 250 or 500 feet of a proposed development, depending upon the zoning and type of land. The Oregon Department of Energy Rules in Division 20 identify the distances from a wind farm or other energy development used to notify people living around a proposed development that it is planned. 

It is common that people who live or own property beyond these distances do not even know that a development is planned until it is too late to make any comments. Individuals with property within one mile of a proposed energy development should receive notice when a Letter of Intent is filed informing that there is a potential development that will be located within a mile of their homes or property. How would you feel if the first you heard that a wind farm was going to be built within 1000 feet of your home was when the developers started to build it?

#9.  Require Department of Energy to implement recommendations from the US Fish and Wildlife Department related to federally protected species or provide documentation regarding why the recommendations lack merit.

The US Fish and Wildlife Department makes ongoing recommendations about how to limit the deaths of federally listed threatened and endangered species. The Department of Energy and Energy Facility Siting Council largely ignores the comments regarding things like setbacks from nest sites for federally endangered birds because they are only required to honor state laws. The rule under OAR 345-022-0070 (2) says" For wildlife species that the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission has listed as threatened or endangered under ORS 469.172(2), the design, construction and operation of the proposed facility, taking into account mitigation, are not likely to cause a significant reduction in the likelihood of survival or recovery of the species."

The impacts to wildlife of the state are cumulative; the more energy developments that are built in Oregon, the greater the risk of bringing a species of animals to extinction. This cumulative impact is being ignored for energy developments. The ODOE and EFSC use an arbitrary "Threshold of Concern" before they consider mitigation or changes to reduce the fatalities at wind farms. Continued use of this standard which includes deaths of both state and federally listed threatened and endangered species absent any scientifically valid basis means they are approving the deaths of protected animals. There is no reason to believe that the continued use of this standard will not result in increasing the likelihood of survival or recovery of the species.

Require ODOE to obtain data that supports the determination that the predicted number of threatened and endangered species they are including in their "Threshold of Concern' will not reduce the likelihood of survival or recovery of the species.

Stop-b2h Meeting September 29th
6 PM @ ORA Office, La Grande
from Fuji & Jim Kreider September 25, 2016

The STOPB2H movement is alive and well!

We've scheduled a meeting for this Thursday 9/29/16 at the ORA Office @ 6 pm. In preparation for the meeting  below is an update on our current activities and how you can help!

BLM -- Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD)

The FEIS on B2H is stuck in DC and the September release date is gone and no new timeframe offered. This statement was made by Renee Straub, BLM Project Coordinator. She was at the  Oregon Historic Trails Advisory Council meeting  Saturday, 9/17/16, at Flagstaff Hill in Baker County. We’re not sure of all the reasons but think that the routes do not comply with the national historic trails act to protect the Oregon Trail in several segments. Also the Navy via a recently completed Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) has denied permission to put the B2H along Bombing Range Road. We wait to see how the BLM resolves these issues.

This delay also means that our request, via Senator Wyden for a 90 comment period, most likely won't be granted. Word is that the administration wants to get this decision out before the close of the Obama Presidency. Therefore we all need to contact the organizations and individuals we know that care about B2H to be ready to comment. We'll only have 30 days to read 3,000 or so page and comment. Our comments will be critical in challenging the flaws in the BLM analysis in court. Stay tuned!

Idaho Power -- Integrated Resource Plan  (IP-IRC)

Five people from La Grande  went to the first Integrated Resource Plan session in September and introduced ourselves. IP staff paid a bit of attention to us during breaks as each of us had individual conservations with various staff as they queried us as to why we were there. Two weeks earlier we met with Idaho Environmental groups, 3 of which are voting members of the IP-IPR work group, to discuss common interests. If anyone would like minutes of that meeting or an url to the IP-IRP agendas