Energize Eastside EIS and Permitting Process
Latest News! The second phase of the “Energize Eastside” Environmental Impact Study (EIS) was released on May 8th and is open for public comment until June 21st. More info below.
Use our EIS Comment Guide to help you write and submit your comments for the official record.
For background on the EIS and Approval process see the Energize Eastside Process Overview below.
Phase 2 Draft EIS Information
The Phase 2 Draft EIS is a formidable document (nearly 900 pages total) which provides further details about pole designs, adverse impacts of the project, and proposals to mitigate some of the impacts. Strangely, it does not specify which route the transmission lines will follow. The document may be downloaded using the links on the official Phase 2 Draft EIS page.
Public Comment Period: The EIS is open to public comment through June 21st. Comments may be submitted by email, via the website, orally at the public hearings, or by U.S. Mail. To establish status as an official party of record, you must include your home address in your comments.
This Phase 2 Draft EIS is a draft of the final EIS and it is likely to contain many arguable points. CENSE highly encourages individual citizens to respond to concerns about its content, either in writing or in person, by the June 21st deadline. No matter how you comment, it is important you mention you are a member of CENSE so that CENSE will have legal standing if your comment becomes the basis of litigation. Also you must include your name and home address so your comments become part of the legal record.
Do individual comments really matter? Yes. Your efforts may expose a weak point that could cause this project to be scaled down or even rejected. And talk to your neighbors – a large number of comments from citizens from diverse neighborhoods will signal to politicians how important this issue is to Eastside residents.
How to respond
See our EIS Comment Guide for a complete tutorial on writing and sending your comments.
This section provides a general overview of the Energize Eastside approval and permitting process.
Energize Eastside Approval Process Overview
In order for PSE to build Energize Eastside, there are two processes which must be completed: The Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and a Conditional Use Permit Application.
The EIS process began in April 2015. The Phase 1 Draft EIS phase is complete and the Phase 2 Draft EIS was released for public review on May 8 2017. The public has until June 21 (45 days) to review it and make comments. See below for details, and what you can do to help.
PSE will also file an application to build the project (a Conditional Use Permit, or CUP) with each of the affected cities (Redmond, Bellevue, Newcastle, Renton). PSE has not specified a date when they will apply for the permit.
Once PSE submits an application for a CUP, each city will appoint a Hearing Examiner (Administrative Law Judge) to review the evidence and conduct a hearing. The hearing will create the legal record for the project that will become the basis for subsequent appeals to city councils or the courts. In Newcastle, any appeal would go directly to Superior Court. In the other cities, the city council would vote on an appeal. After that, the decision could be appealed to the Superior Court. Either side might appeal an adverse outcome to the Court of Appeals and eventually the State Supreme Court.
- Bellevue’s Hearing Examiner – a description of the Bellevue Hearing Examiner process, the rules of procedure and other details
- EIS website – The official Energize Eastside Environmental Impact Study website
- State of Washington SEPA website – frequently asked questions, including a full explanation of an EIS
Links to city land use codes:
Official Phase 2 Draft EIS Notice from the City
NOTICE OF AVAILABILITY OF PHASE 2 DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT (EIS)
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS / OPEN HOUSES
Project Name: Energize Eastside
Project Proponent: Puget Sound Energy (PSE)
Location: Portions of Bellevue, Newcastle, Redmond, Renton, and unincorporated King County between the Sammamish Substation at 9221 Willow Road NE, Redmond, WA 98052, and the Talbot Hill Substation at 2400 South Puget Drive, Renton, WA 98055.
City of Bellevue EIS File Number: 14-139122-LE
Description: Construct approximately 18 miles of new 230 kilovolt (kV) electrical transmission lines and a new substation (Richards Creek in Bellevue) connecting two existing bulk energy systems (one to the north in Redmond and one to the south in Renton) to supply future electrical capacity and improve electrical grid reliability for Eastside communities. Project details and plans are available in the project file and on the project website at www.EnergizeEastsideEIS.org.
EIS Required: On April 30, 2015, the Environmental Coordinator of the City of Bellevue, serving as lead agency, published a Notice of Determination of Significance, indicating that this proposal could have a significant adverse impact upon the environment and required preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 43.21C.030(2)(c). On January 28, 2016 the Lead Agency issued the Phase 1 Programmatic Draft EIS, which evaluated alternative methods to achieve PSE’s project objectives. A Phase 2 Draft EIS has been completed and evaluates project-level alternatives.
Approvals Required: Local permit review and approval within each affected jurisdiction.
Availability of the Draft EIS: The Draft EIS may be viewed online or downloaded from the project website www.EnergizeEastsideEIS.org. Copies of the EIS on CD are available at no charge. Printed copies are available to purchase for cost of reproduction ($300). Email info@EnergizeEastsideEIS.org for more information.
SEPA EIS Public Comment: Agencies, affected tribes, and members of the public are invited to comment on the Phase 2 Draft EIS which will be available on May 8, 2017. You may comment on alternatives, mitigation measures, probable significant adverse impacts, and permits or other approvals that may be required. An extended comment period of 45 days is being provided pursuant to Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 197-11-455, and will include three public hearings at the times and locations listed below.
Public Hearings/Open House Dates, Times, and Locations
- Tuesday, May 23, 2017 6:00 – 8:30 PM: Oliver Hazen High School – 1101 Hoquiam Ave NE, Renton, WA 98059
- Thursday, May 25, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 PM: Bellevue City Hall – 450 110th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
- Saturday, June 3, 2017 2:00 – 4:30 PM: Rose Hill Elementary – 8110 128th Ave NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
Public Comment Period: The comment period opens May 8, 2017. The deadline for submitting comments is Wednesday, June 21, 2017. All comments related to the Draft EIS must be received by this date. Mailed items that are postmarked by Wednesday, June 21, 2017 will be accepted. Comments may be submitted orally at the public hearings or in writing. A valid physical mailing address is required to establish status as an official party of record.
Written comments may be submitted
Online at www.EnergizeEastsideEIS.org
By email to info@EnergizeEastsideEIS.org
By mail to: City of Bellevue, Development Services Department, Attn: Heidi Bedwell, Environmental Planning Manager, P.O. Box 90012, Bellevue, WA 98009-9012
Applicant Contact: Bradley Strauch, Puget Sound Energy
Applicant Contact Email: email@example.com
Lead Agency Contact: Heidi Bedwell, City of Bellevue
Lead Agency Contact Phone: 425-452-4862
Lead Agency Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org