RAPID/BulkTransmission/Idaho/Land Access

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Idaho Bulk Transmission Land Access(3-ID)

The State’s role in siting and permitting transmission lines is limited to 1) transmission lines located within a National Interstate Electric Transmission Corridor (NIETC) or 2) when a project seeks to use state property. No NIETCs currently exist within Idaho.

State agencies that may be involved if a transmission project crosses state lands include, but is not limited to, the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and the Idaho Transportation Department (IDT), the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Idaho State Historical Society.

Idaho Department of Lands

According to the Idaho Governor's Office of Energy Resources, the IDL has jurisdiction if the proposed transmission line falls under the following rules:

  • If the project encroached on or crossed navigable lakes,- Rules for the Regulation of Beds, Waters and Airspace Over Navigable Lakes in the State of Idaho would apply. A permit and/or lease would be required. Easements are possible in some cases.
  • If the project encroached on or crossed navigable rivers, - Rules Governing Leases on State-Owned Submerged Lands and Formerly Submerged Lands would apply. A permit and/or lease would be required. Easements are possible in some cases.

In the two above scenarios, if easements were sought, then - Rules for Easements on State-Owned Submerged Lands and Formerly Submerged Lands would apply.

  • If the planned activity required commercial logging to prepare a site for construction, the Forest Practices Act would apply to the actual logging activity. The Rules Pertaining to the Forest Practices Act.
  • Any slash created as a result of logging would fall under- Rules Pertaining to the Idaho Forestry Act and Fire Hazard Reduction Laws.
  • Any activities that start a forest fire could fall under - Rules Pertaining to Forest Fire Protection.

In addition, any proposal involving state endowment lands would most likely require a lease.

Idaho Transportation Department

Permit(s) may be required from the ITD if a proposed transmission line project seeks to utilize public road right-of-ways on the Idaho State Highway System. Idaho Code 40-310 Idaho Code 40-312 Idaho Code 67-705 The following Idaho Administrative Codes apply: 39.03.42 – Rules Governing Highway Right-of-Way Encroachments on State Rights-of-Way and 39.03.43 – Rules Governing Utilities on State Highway Right-of-Way.

Project applicants must submit a request to the ITD to use the public road right-of-way by completing the Right-of-Way Encroachment Application and Permit for Utilities. Requests are submitted to the District in which the project is located. District personnel review the application and will approve or deny the request within 30 days. Approvals may be subject to additional requirements.

If the project requires the addition, modification, relocation, or maintenance or removal of an encroachment on the state highway right-of-way, the developer must apply for an encroachment permit with the Idaho Transportation Department under IDAPA 39.03.42.

Local Process
Authority for siting transmission lines in Idaho primarily rests with the local governments. According to the Idaho Governor's Office of Energy Resources:

"Under provisions of the Land Use Planning Act, the county commissions or governing boards exercise specific functions regarding the siting and permitting of transmission line corridors and infrastructure. Chapter 65, Title 67 of Idaho Code extends authority to the counties to include transmission corridors in their comprehensive plans and provides ordinance authority and processes for granting such permits."

It is the duty of the planning or planning and zoning commission to conduct a comprehensive planning process within their jurisdiction. The comprehensive plan is to include an analysis showing utility transmission corridors, Idaho IC 67-6508, Planning Duties for Local Land Use and upon notification by the PUC concerning the likelihood of a federally designated national interest electric transmission corridor, show the existing location and possible routing of high voltage transmission linesIdaho IC 67-6508, Planning Duties for Local Land Use .

In addition, each governing board may adopt special or conditional use permits in accordance with the notice and hearing requirements provided under section 67-6509. The ordinance provides for an application process and allows for a special use permit to be granted with conditions attached. Idaho IC 67-6512 Conditions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Minimizing adverse impact on other development;
  • Controlling the sequence and timing of development;
  • Controlling the duration of development;
  • Assuring that development is maintained properly;
  • Designating the exact location and nature of development;
  • Requiring the provision for on-site or off-site public facilities or services;
  • Requiring more restrictive standards than those generally required in an ordinance;
  • Requiring mitigation of effects of the proposed development upon service delivery by any political subdivision, including school districts, providing services within the planning jurisdiction. Idaho IC 67-6512

Social, economic, fiscal, and environmental studies may also be required. The use must be in compliance with the comprehensive plan. Idaho IC 67-6512

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Idaho Federal

State Land Right-of-Way: Any person may need an Easement to access a state land right-of-way. IDAPA 20.03.08 -Easements on State-Owned Lands.
State Land Right-of-Way Agency: Idaho Department of Lands
State Highway Right-of-Way: Any person may need a State Highway Encroachment Permit for any project that encroaches on or uses a state highway right-of-way. IDAPA 39.03.42.
State Highway Right-of-Way Agency: Idaho Transportation Department
Eminent Domain: The power of eminent domain can be used by “electric distribution and transmission lines for the delivery, furnishing, distribution, and transmission of electric current for power, lighting, heating or other purposes…” Idaho Code Ann. § 7-701 - 7-721.