STATUS: In progress, with opposition
OPPOSITION: Residents; a regional Fish and Game organization; Advocates of the West; other environmental groups
BACKGROUND: The project features a 185-turbine wind farm in Twin Falls County on 30,000 acres of public land and would produce 425 megawatts of electricity. At the moment, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is assessing the impact of the project on natural resources and local communities, and addressing public concerns. The project team aims to mitigate any significant problems and even develop alternatives to the currently proposed project for additional consideration.
Environmentalists in Idaho, however, oppose the wind project. Some worry that construction, operation, and maintenance will be detrimental to fish and wildlife and their habitat. There are also concerns over the project’s effect on special status species such as the sage grouse and the pygmy rabbit. Residents worry about the effect of the wind farm on the views from their cabins. An attorney from Advocates of the West is “skeptical that wind, solar and geothermal plants spread out across the wide open spaces of the West and linked to populated areas through vast transmissions systems are the answer to increasing carbon-free energy supplies.”
The Final EIS is expected to be published in late 2010. The latest China Mountain Wind Project newsletter forecasts a final decision to be made in the summer of 2011.
SOURCES: China Mountain Wind Power Project EIS: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/id/nepa/jarbidge_fo/china_mountain_wind.Par.78172.File.dat/China%20Mountain%20NL%202%20Single%20page%20layout.pdf;
Clean Idaho Energy http://cleanidahoenergy.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/environmentalists-continue-fight-against-renewable-energy/;
BLM: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/medialib/blm/id/nepa/jarbidge_fo/china_mountain_wind.Par.17053.File.dat/news1.pdf ;
Magic Valley Times: http://www.magicvalley.com/news/local/twin-falls/article_3d90d355-4f39-5769-9cf2-a6ba1a7ced79.html
Last updated November 11, 2010