25
Mrz
2005

Proposed Power Line Threatens the Methow Valley

#122 WILD NORTHWEST, March 24, 2005
A Message from Northwest Ecosystem Alliance
=====Keeping the Northwest Wild=====

Proposed Power Line Threatens the Methow Valley

Demand a transmission plan alternative that protects local wildlife and shrub-steppe lands

The Okanogan Public Utility District (PUD) has released a draft plan for upgrading electric power to the Methow Valley that includes a proposal to build a second power line. The new line would cut into the largest remaining tract of high quality shrub-steppe uplands in Okanogan County, home to mule deer, bald eagles, golden eagles, western gray squirrels, and sharp-tailed grouse. Alternative 2 of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement calls for construction of a 30-mile-long transmission line crossing 72 tributaries of the Methow River and requires a new substation spur along the valley bottom. The alternative would create new roads and development in critical winter range for Washington's largest mule deer herd and disturb the many bald eagles that use the river. And because Alternative 2 fails to improve or maintain existing lines, it could end up bankrupting the PUD with an $11 million band-aid.

There is a better way for the Methow. The DEIS's Alternative 4 calls for no new lines, proposing instead a long-overdue upgrade of the existing Loup-Loup Pass transmission line and downstream distribution. Maintaining and improving current power lines solves the Methow's needs for reliable power, while keeping intact the rich wildlife habitat of eastern Washington's shrub-steppe lands.

Comments are due on March 31, 2005. What you can do:
Use our quick action system at
http://www.ecosystem.org/action/index.html?MessageTemplateID=3
to urge the PUD to choose Alternative 4, the plan that best protects both the environment and the economy of the Methow Valley.

Or send in a letter, email, or fax on your own to:
Attn: Comments for Methow Transmission Project
Dan Boettger, Okanogan PUD
Box 912, Okanogan, WA 98840
Email: dan_b@okpud.org, Fax: 509-422-4020

Jan Flatten, USFS
1240 Second Avenue South, Okanogan, WA 98840
Email: jflatten@fs.fed.us, Fax: 509-826-3789

Additional resources: You will find a fact sheet and background information available at www.okanogan1.com/friends.

Please mail a copy of any hard-copy letters you send to George Wooten, NWEA Conservation Associate, PO Box 501, Twisp, WA 98856. And thank you all, as ever, for taking action to keep the Northwest wild!


Erin Moore
Communications Coordinator
Northwest Ecosystem Alliance
1208 Bay St., Ste. 201
Bellingham, WA 98225
360.671.9950 ext. 24
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