RAPID/BulkTransmission/Oregon/Aesthetic & Recreational

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Oregon Bulk Transmission Aesthetic & Recreational Resource Assessment(17-OR)

Developers should be aware that the potential effects of transmission projects on visual resources has been a challenge in siting transmission facilities. Transmission line projects may cause visual contrast within the landscapes they cross due to their length, size and the regular geometric forms of the transmission towers. These projects may affect sensitive viewers (i.e., residents, recreationist, etc.) located along the right-of-way.

Analysis of impacts to visual resources as a result of a transmission line project may be required as part of a federal, state or local permitting process. For example, at the federal level, a project required to go through the NEPA process must evaluate impacts to visual resources. In addition, some public agencies have requirements or provide guidelines for evaluating and assessing impacts to visual resources for projects that cross their jurisdiction. For example, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) have developed methodologies for inventorying visual resources and assessing visual impacts on lands under their respective jurisdictions.

In Oregon, projects subject to O.R.S 469.310 and are required to obtain a site certificate from the EFSC. As part of the site certificate process, applicants are required to submit an NOI to identify significant potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of the construction and operation of the facility, including scenic and aesthetic areas. [1]

In order to obtain a site certificate, an analysis of significant potential impacts of the proposed facility, if any, on scenic resources identified as significant or important in local land use plans, tribal land management plans and federal land management plans for any lands located within the analysis area must be included in the site certificate application and shall include the following information:

  • A list of the local, tribal and federal plans that address lands within the analysis area.
  • Identification and description of the scenic resources identified as significant or important in the plans listed above, including a copy of the portion of the management plan that identifies the resource as significant or important.
  • A description of significant potential adverse impacts to the scenic resources identified in (B), including, but not limited to, impacts such as:
    • Loss of vegetation or alteration of the landscape as a result of construction or operation; and
    • Visual impacts of facility structures or plumes.
  • The measures the applicant proposes to avoid, reduce or otherwise mitigate any significant adverse impacts.
  • A map or maps showing the location of the scenic resources described under (B).
  • The applicant’s proposed monitoring program, if any, for impacts to scenic resources. [2]

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List of Reference Sources

  1. O.A.R. 345-020 (2014). 0011(j)
  2. O.A.R. 345-020 (2014). 0010(r)