Idaho Leaders: ‘Deep Concerns’ Regarding Lava Ridge Project
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)-Idaho's governor, congressman, and senators are raising concerns regarding the proposed Lava Ridge wind energy project in the Magic Valley. In a letter sent to the Idaho director for the Bureau of Land Management, Gov. Brad Little, Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke, Rep. Mike Simpson, Sen. Jim Risch, and Sen. Mike Crapo expressed "deep concerns" regarding the lack of public support for the proposed electricity-generating wind farm in Jerome, Lincoln, and Minidoka counties.
Idahoans Voice Concerns Over Wind Farm Effects On Land
In the statement signed jointly by the elected officials, they said, “Idahoans cherish the concept of multiple and mixed uses on their public lands. This requires conservation, predictability of use, and, most importantly, support from the local communities.
These deep-rooted values are compromised by a piecemeal approach to large-scale generation projects on public lands. Dedicating hundreds of square miles of public lands to a specific use will have a long-term effect on recreation, grazing, sporting uses, and the land in general.” The letter pointed to the groups that have already voiced concerns regarding the proposed project,
The Lava Ridge Wind Project, in terms of its size and scope, is the first of its kind on federally managed land in Idaho, yet the NEPA process has not adequately accounted for this fact. Our offices were informed that public outreach efforts have been insufficient to adequately engage Idaho citizens in the process. Affected farmers, ranchers, tribes, the Japanese American community, and sportsmen have voiced legitimate objections. As it stands today, the local community predominantly has not shown support for this development.
In addition, Idaho's government leaders raised issue with the impact the project could have on future transportation development, local power infrastructure, fire suppression efforts, and impact on the sage grouse population. The proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project would construct 400 electricity-generating windmills on mostly federal land surrounding the area of Wilson Butte.
The BLM recently published the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Lava Ridge proposed by Magic Valley Energy and its parent LS Power. The BLM is taking public comment on the EIS until March 21. A series of open house public meetings have been scheduled through the month of February and early March.