A foul wind blew across the Magic Valley on Thursday.  An even fouler mood descended on Jerome.  An overflow crowd objected to the Lava Ridge Wind Project.  It could become the largest wind energy project in the world.  The electricity generated would be shipped to Clark County, Nevada, and Southern California.  Those who would find turbines in their backyards would get a spoiled landscape.

Public input may have little impact.  The federal bureaucrats making the decision don’t need your votes.  The meeting in Jerome County could be cathartic but not a remedy for the opposition.  Glenneda Zuiderveld, the apparent winner of a recent Republican primary for the state senate, grew up in Jerome.  She attended the meeting Thursday night and said nobody spoke in favor of the wind farms.  The crowd stretched into the hallway.  For detail, the farm would stretch across Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka Counties.

This is not the last word on the project.  On Monday, Jerome County Commissioners will welcome project engineers from Lava Ridge.  A 2:00 p.m. meeting is scheduled at the courthouse in the Jack Nelson conference room.

County Commissioners are caught between a rock and a hard place.  The project would generate a lot of property tax.  It wouldn’t require any maintenance from county governments, however.  A large segment of the public doesn’t appear interested in the tax windfall.

Last night’s meeting brought out a crowd that was estimated at between 150 and 200.  If you plan on attending the meeting on Monday you’re urged to be polite.  Getting carried away by deputies won’t help your cause.

I used to be agnostic when it came to wind power.  I don’t live near any turbines.  A few years ago I drove to a secluded spot and listened as they turned in the sky.  I could hear a persistent whooshing sound.  I imagine if you had to live with it, you would be at your wit’s end. There may be some methods that would work that wouldn’t be quite so intrusive.  But smaller-scale nuclear reactors would be more efficient and use far less space.

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