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ID Wind Project Stirs Concerns for Impact on National Parks, Wildlife

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Thursday, September 9, 2021   

TWIN FALLS, Idaho -- The public has an opportunity to weigh in on a large wind-energy project proposed in Idaho.

The Lava Ridge Wind Energy Project would be located about 25 miles northeast of Twin Falls and generate 1,000 megawatts of energy.

Ben Otto, energy associate for the Idaho Conservation League, said it would more than double the amount of wind energy currently generated in the state, but he pointed out the project could have local impacts.

One concern is for nearby national parks, including Craters of the Moon and the Minidoka National Historic Site, the location of a World War II internment camp for Japanese Americans.

"This project would be visible from both of those locations," Otto explained. "And, in fact, the Minidoka internment camp would be basically surrounded by this project. Those are big cultural impacts."

The Idaho Conservation League is also concerned about the project's impact on wildlife, such as birds of prey. Otto emphasized since the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) still is in the scoping phase, there is plenty of time for the agency to investigate and mitigate potential impacts.

The agency is holding a public meeting on the proposal online today at 6:00 p.m.

Otto also noted creating more renewable-energy sources and moving away from fossil fuels that harm the planet is important. He added the Idaho Conservation League wants to find a way to say yes to this project and respect local values at the same time.

"Adding wind displaces those fossil fuels and delivers a long-term benefit to our climate and public health," Otto contended. "We're really trying to find that balance between enabling the benefits of clean energy while addressing the impacts of specific projects."

The BLM must receive public comments by Sep. 20.

Disclosure: The Idaho Conservation League contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Public Lands/Wilderness, and Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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