By B.N. Frank American antagonism toward wind farms offshore (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and on land (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)...
State Lawmakers Unanimously Vote Against Large-Scale Wind Project on Public Lands
By B.N. Frank
American antagonism toward wind farms offshore (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and on land (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) seems to be increasing due to significant economic, environmental, health, and safety issues associated with them. This now includes state lawmakers in Idaho who passed a resolution opposing a proposed large-scale wind project.
Resolution against Lava Ridge adopted by Idaho Senate
A resolution opposing the Lava Ridge wind energy proposal has been adopted by the Idaho Legislature, after a unanimous vote in the state Senate on Tuesday.
LS Power and Magic Valley Energy have proposed a large-scale wind energy project on public lands east of Jerome. It would be the first such project on public lands in Idaho, and, if the targeted 1000 MegaWatt capacity is reached, it would be among the largest terrestrial wind energy projects in the country.
House Concurrent Resolution 4 states that the Legislature considers the concerns of the Magic Valley as justification to support a no-build option for Lava Ridge and asks Gov. Brad Little and Attorney General Raul Labrador to “review the project and assure that the interests of Idaho are foremost in the final decision.”
Sen. Linda Wright Hartgen of Twin Falls sponsored the non-binding resolution in the Senate after it was unanimously approved by the Idaho State House earlier this month.
“I’m a staunch supporter of management and multiple-use public lands,” Hartgen said while opening debate for the resolution. “These uses include grazing, logging, mining, and the resolution in no way advocates locking up public lands and throwing away the key.”
Hartgen enumerated several of the many concerns about Lava Ridge, including the construction traffic, the need for 500 new roads, and concerns about the impacts on aviation.
A key concern expressed by Hartgen and others during the debate was that the energy generated in Idaho would be used by California.
“Why would multi-use public lands in Idaho be monopolized for California?” Hartgen asked.
Speaking in favor of the resolution, Sen. Glenneda Zuiderveld said that Lava Ridge was only the first of many similar projects proposed for the Magic Valley, and pointed out the Salmon Falls Wind Energy proposal for Twin Falls County, also being proposed by Magic Valley Energy and LS Power.
“I feel like it’s an invasion of our public lands,” Zuiderveld said.
Sen. Ron Taylor from Blaine County said that the impact on the viewshed would be visible from some of the best trout fishing streams in the area.
“If you’ve ever fished at Silver Creek by Picaboo, and looked out across the fields and said, ‘Wow, this is absolutely phenomenal’ – that will go away,” Taylor said. “You will be able to see some of these wind turbines while you’re fly fishing.”
Taylor, a Democrat, said the majority of people in blue-leaning Blaine County appreciated alternative energy but were nevertheless opposed to Lava Ridge.
“We are in solidarity with everyone else against this project,” Taylor said. “This project is not right for the state land.”
Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon from Burley said he had looked for some examples of projects like Lava Ridge to see how they had affected people living nearby, but he could find no examples because nothing on this scale has been done anywhere else.
“Nothing like this has ever been built before,” Anthon said. “Idaho’s public land is the guinea pig. And why are we the guinea pig? Because California needs more power.”
The Idaho House on March 13 adopted the resolution by unanimous floor vote. With its adoption by the Idaho Senate, it will be filed with the Secretary of State.
Source: Lorien Nettleton | Mar 29, 2023 | magicvalley.com
This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
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