News Releases

Sierra Pacific Will Seek Approval to Realign Power Line Route Near Alturus

Jul 8, 1997

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

For Immediate Release

Sierra Pacific Power Company plans to seek approval from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to move a small portion of the route for the Alturas Intertie Project from the Modoc National Forest to privately owned land near Alturas, Calif.

Modoc Forest Supervisor Diane Henderson-Bramlette notified Sierra Pacific on Tuesday that it cannot build a 2.8 mile section of a 345 kilovolt electric transmission line in the Devils Garden area of the Modoc Forest west of Alturas. In a letter to Sierra Pacific, Henderson-Bramlette stated that there are other"environmentally acceptable routes that would accomplish your company?s purpose?"

That route had been rejected earlier by the Forest Service which told Sierra Pacific it could reapply for a permit to build on Devils Garden by demonstrating an alternate route identified in the Modoc Forest plan was unsuitable due to safety concerns, national and state practices, engineering or environmental quality issues.

Additional environmental studies submitted to the Modoc National Forest by Sierra Pacific concluded that the Cedar Pass route is not feasible because it would disturb sensitive wildlife habitat and sites used by Native Americans in religious practices.

Henderson-Bramlette said the additional information submitted by Sierra Pacific was insufficient for the Forest Service to reverse its previous decision.

"We?re disappointed with the decision, but we have a fully studied alternate route off the Modoc Forest that was identified during the environmental review process," said Alturas Project Manager John Owens."We plan to ask the CPUC to let us replace the Devils Garden route with this alternate."

The alternate route would change the first five miles of the transmission line route near Alturas and require construction of a substation adjacent to the old lumber mill site off Highway 299 west of Alturas.

The Forest Service decision does not change the route in Nevada or the other 131 miles of the transmission line route already approved in California.

Pending project approval by the CPUC and the Public Service Commission of Nevada, Sierra Pacific hopes to start construction of the power line in the fall of 1997 and to have the project completed by late 1998, Owens said. The Alturas Intertie will provide the northern Nevada-northern California area with an additional 300 megawatts of electricity from sources in the Pacific Northwest.