The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) invites members of the public to help identify environmental issues that should be considered before moving forward with a proposed high-voltage transmission line replacement project at Grand Coulee Dam in Washington.

BPA has been asked by the Bureau of Reclamation to design and construct six new 500-kV transmission lines at the dam to replace six existing underground lines. The underground lines need replacing because they consist of 18 aging, oil-filled cables that run between Grand Coulee Dam’s third powerhouse and the 500-kV spreading yard, both of which are operated and maintained by the Bureau of Reclamation. The new lines would transfer power generated at the dam’s third powerhouse, across the Columbia River to the visitor center area and then run uphill to where the lines will connect to existing lines to transfer power into the regional power grid.

BPA and Reclamation held an open-house style meeting for interested parties to gather input for an environmental assessment, a study of the proposed project’s potential impacts on the natural and built environment. The environmental assessment also would describe any mitigation measures that could be incorporated into the proposed project to minimize impacts.

”An important part of the planning process is interacting with the public to learn more about their transmission line siting concerns, as well as providing critical information to help citizens understand the rationale for the proposed line,” said Greg Delwiche, BPA vice president for Environment, Fish and Wildlife. Information on the proposed transmission project is available at www.bpa.gov/go/coulee.