News Releases

Sierra Pacific Provides U.S. Forest Service With Additional Data, Proposal Concerning Alturus Intertie

Sep 17, 1996

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Karl Walquist/Robert Sagan
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Co. has provided the U.S. Forest Service with additional information requested by the agency for its review of the Alturas Intertie Project, a 345-kilovolt electric line proposed by the utility.

Sierra Pacific also provided the USFS with a proposal for mitigating the impact of the overhead power line project on USFS lands, as required by the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR)prepared under direction of the Bureau of Land Management and California Public Utilities Commission. This proposal would add approximately 2,600 acres of land to the National Forest System. (The easement for the Alturas Intertie Project on both the Toiyabe Forest in Nevada and the Modoc Forest in California totals approximately 200 acres of Forest Service land.)

The route selected for the electric transmission line after two and one-half years of environmental studies extends for 164 miles from Alturas, Calif., to a substation in Reno. The line would tap into the Bonneville Power electric system near Alturas, providing northern Nevada with greater access to economical electricity from the Pacific Northwest.

The documentation requested by the Forest Service provides information about alternatives for the project examined during the environmental review process.

Earlier, the USFS issued a"no project" decision with respect to Sierra Pacific's request for a permit to construct the power line on eight miles of Forest Service land along the base of Peavine Mountain west of Highway 395 near Reno. Agency officials stated that alternate routes that did not cross the Peavine area required further study.

The alternate routes identified by the USFS for which Sierra Pacific provided documentation include:

The Nevada Route, from Alturas through Cedar Pass in the Modoc National Forest, south along the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) 500,000-volt power line corridor in Nevada, then west through Sparks and Sun Valley to the North Valley Road Substation, including an analysis of the need to terminate at the North Valley Road Substation;

The Summer Lake Route, from Summer Lake, Ore., east to the LADWP corridor, south along the corridor, then west through Sparks, and;

The East Side Routes, which would run due north out of the North Valley Road Substation adjacent to residential areas of Panther Valley and Golden Valley, then on the west side or east side of the Dogskin Mountains, ultimately tying back into the proposed route in the vicinity of the Fort Sage Mountains.

Sierra Pacific's report also includes further discussion of placing the power line underground along the base of Peavine Mountain. According to the documentation provided to the USFS, these alternatives were analyzed and rejected during the environmental review process"because they either did not meet key project objectives and/or were environmentally inferior to the route identified in the final EIS/EIR as the environmentally preferred alternative."

Mitigation Proposal Would Satisfy EIS/EIR Requirements

In a letter to the USFS, Alturas Intertie Project Manager John Owens outlines Sierra Pacific's proposal to mitigate the impact of the proposed route on the Modoc and Toiyabe National Forests, thus satisfying a stated requirement of the EIS/EIR.

The mitigation would include the following:

Sierra Pacific would provide funding of $625,000 to the USFS to update its forest plan;

The Toiyabe National Forest would select and Sierra Pacific will acquire and transfer to the forest 600 acres of privately held land in or adjacent to the Toiyabe Forest on Peavine, and;

Sierra Pacific will grant to Region V of the USFS for inclusion as National Forest System Lands 2,000 acres of land surrounding Independence Lake in California. (Sierra Pacific would retain all water rights to the lake and tributaries into and out of the lake.)

The easement Sierra Pacific has requested on USFS land -- a 160-foot wide right-of-way extending for eight miles on the Toiyabe Forest and two miles on the Modoc National Forest -- would involve approximately 200 acres of land. To date, the following agencies have either approved or issued permits for the power line project: the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Public Service Commission of Nevada, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California State Lands Commission, Modoc County, Calif., the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, the City of Reno, Washoe County, the Nevada Department of Transportation, and the Nevada State Historical Preservation Society. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined the Final EIS/EIR met all EPA standards.