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Environmentalists oppose desert wind farms

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High Five
Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Randy Fulton, economic development director for Harney County, has been working with Columbia Energy Partners to develop four new wind farms in the county.

Environmental groups, including the Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Audubon Society of Portland and the Oregon chapter of the Sierra Club oppose the project, saying it would have detrimental effects on the desert's wildlife.

Fulton said he understands the desire to preserve the county’s beauty, but he doesn’t want to see environmental concerns outweigh a project’s economic potential.

“Everyone says they love Harney County because it’s beautiful,” Fulton said. “But we have 20 percent unemployment. There are a lot of good things these groups do, but we’re going to save ourselves to death.”

Fulton says this project would inject nearly $1 billion into his county, which has lost all income and employment associated with the timber industry that once helped the area thrive. Construction of the project’s four wind farms could create 60 to 70 jobs, and the four farms would each need eight full-time employees to maintain the turbines, Fulton said.

Read the full story at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

{biztweet}wind farm{/biztweet}




just plain dick
0 #1 just plain dick 2010-07-14 13:41:38
Yesterday Pacific Power raises rates. Today we KILL wind power! Half the chior sings one way the other half sings another. What lousy music from the Planateers. We need JOBS I said JOBS. Lets shut down all of the wind farms. The Dams furnish enough sustainable power.
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energy guy
0 #2 Steens wind poor business decisionenergy guy 2010-07-14 16:54:12
Its clear that Columbia Energy Partners did not have a track record in the business of building wind farms, otherwise they would not have picked one of the state's most iconic landscapes for their project. Other companies have built hundreds of MW of new wind without controversy in Oregon. Instead, CEP picked an environmental hotspot and then deliberately broke one large project in to four to avoid more rigorous state siting rules. With a little more business and environmental acumen, CEP could have settled for another location with profitable wind. Steens is not the only windy place Harney County, and Harney county's development folks should work to find alternative locations if they want to move forward quickly.
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wind lover
0 #3 Your headline is misleadingwind lover 2010-07-15 12:58:39
Your headline says 'environmentali sts oppose desert wind farms' when you are only talking about those proposed for one location - Steens Mountain. Environmentalis ts have supported or been neutral on thousands of megawatts of wind energy development in the deserts and dry lands of eastern Oregon over the past several years, including the world's largest wind installation on the Sherman/Morrow county border.
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