An open letter to Ed Orcutt


When the rural landowner purchased a home and land in the beautiful foothills of southwest Washington and far from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) transmission towers and lines, he never imagined a federal agency would want to come through his land to clear-cut up to 550 feet for a new 150-foot, 500 kV transmission corridor.

He never imagined the private driveway to his home would be expanded and lengthened to travel past his home, through his beautiful gardens and landscaping for a new tower access road, enabling access 365 days a year to a government agency and its contractors.

He never imagined a superhighway for transients, off-roaders, and other trespassers who would be able to freely travel this new transmission corridor through the private land to which he used to own full rights.

The rural landowner never imagined that his elected officials (who are elected to uphold his rights) would tell a federal agency to avoid its existing transmission right-of-way on which it already owns rights to build. He never imagined his elected officials would encourage a federal agency to take his private land.

Why the double standard?

You supported the private landowner rights of a gun club according to the article in the Vancouver, Washington newspaper The Columbian written February 23, 2012, Bill targets shooting range noise complaints where you were quoted saying “Do I have the right to sue because I can hear the train go by at 3 o’clock in the morning?” “I made a conscious choice to purchase property there. So it’s up to me to accept the conditions I bought into.”

This is no different for those who made a conscious choice to purchase property alongside an existing BPA-owned right- way, which was designed for expansion. Just as you were quoted, they should accept the

conditions they bought into.

Since 2009, a lot more has been discovered about this project.

At the beginning of this project there was no way anyone could have known the extent of damage this project would have on private landowners. As data has been released documenting the amount of destruction to private land there would be with any new rural transmission right-of-way, your position should have changed as the facts were discovered.

We urge you to become up-to-date—recognizing and utilizing this information to voice your concerns for people at risk of losing a substantial amount of their private land.

We urge you to face reality.

BPA plans to build 500kV towers and lines on any of the Segments and Alternatives that are on their current map. BPA is not considering any other locations for this project.

*BPA decided against adding an additional route further east twice, in 2011 and in 2012. This proposed route was not unpopulated, but instead traveled through private land near Castle Rock, the Toutle River, Cougar, East Fork of the Lewis River, and Camas.

*BPA decided against the using the Oregon Pearl route twice, in 2009 and again in 2010.

Any hypothetical route further east would take a substantial amount of your constituents’ and other private landowners property to make its way to a small amount of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) “public lands.”

Most of BPA’s existing right-of-way is already owned by BPA.

BPA estimates the cost to build on the West Alternative to be 317 million dollars. To support a route other than this existing BPA-owned right-of-way is to support misuse of American Recovery and Reinvestment dollars, encouraging the following wasteful spending by an agency of the federal government.




We have asked BPA for a count of how many land parcels along each route will lose land to the project. BPA has not been forthcoming with those numbers. The numbers below were derived by examining BPA’s interactive map, counting the parcels affected by each proposed alternative.

*WEST ALTERNATIVE—a few feet along the edges of 24 land parcels.

*CROSSOVER ALTERNATIVE—139 land parcels will be cut in half or quartered.

*CENTRAL ALTERNATIVE—247 land parcels will be cut in half or quartered.

*EAST ALTERNATIVE—211 land parcels will be cut in half or quartered.

Our private land and landowner rights are under attack. We are asking for your support.

We ask that you review the recent data that Bonneville Power Administration has released regarding the I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project. When reviewing this data, we ask you to recognize the large amount of private land proposed to be taken along the rural Alternatives and Segments that are not near an existing BPA-owned right-of-way. We believe our private land and our landowner rights have priority over any other concern regarding this project. We urge you to make this your main priority as well.

We urge you to take a stand to protect private land and landowner rights by writing BPA and telling them to avoid private land by using the right-of-way on which it already owns rights to build on—the West Alternative.

The Board of

A Better Way for BPA


Cheryl Brantley, Chair

Valerie Gardner, Secretary

Rod smith, Media Advisor

Bolt Minister, Vice Chair

Ray Richards, Treasurer

Jan Davis Membership


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