February 22, 2017


Contact: Erik Molvar, Western Watersheds Project, 307-399-7910,


Conservation Group Appeals Gateway West Transmission Line


Hailey, ID –Western Watersheds Project announced today that it has appealed the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) decision to approve portions of the unnecessary Gateway West transmission line project in Idaho. The Idaho-based conservation group filed its appeal with the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which hears appeals of BLM decisions, seeking a stay of the project.


“It makes no sense at all to take this massive, unnecessary transmission project on a major detour through highly sensitive sage-grouse habitats,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist who directs Western Watersheds Project. “We know based on multiple scientific studies that raptors roost on transmission towers and concentrate their predation within four miles of powerlines, and we are concerned that Idaho’s beleaguered sage-grouse populations won’t be able to deal with the added mortality."


Since the 2015 decision not to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act, at least one sage-grouse population in western Utah has declined so much that additional conservation actions to protect them were triggered, raising the question of whether the Gateway West transmission project will cause the same problem in Idaho.


“Sage-grouse require vast stretches of undisturbed sagebrush habitat,” said Molvar. “If we can protect enough habitat to sustain populations of the highly sensitive sage-grouse, we are also protecting the 350 species of wildlife and native plants that depend on the sagebrush sea for their survival.”


The BLM’s approval decision also dismisses a formal protest that was filed by the State of Idaho without making changes to address Governor Butch Otter’s concerns.


Western Watershed Project’s notice of appeal, petition for stay, and protest of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement are available at


The mission of Western Watersheds Project is to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife through education, public policy initiatives and legal advocacy.



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Western Watersheds Project, Inc
PO Box 1770
Hailey, Idaho 83333

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