Response to Times-News editorial on the China Mountain wind farm proposal:
The China Mountain Wind Farm, if constructed, may be positive for the local economy from a tax revenue standpoint, but it will have negative repercussions on Idaho's wildlife. It's a no-brainer - the footprint of a project that will cover prime habitat sage grouse, mule deer, antelope and other sagebrush dependent species.
Impacts will extend well beyond the acreage of sagebrush that's removed to support the infrastructure for the massive project which includes around 70 miles of new and improved roads, up to 15 miles of new power line construction, substations, maintenance facilities and more.
Construction, operation and maintenance of the wind farm will dramatically increase human activity in what was once an isolated area. The addition to the landscape of enormous vertical structures (wind turbines and power distribution towers and lines) has the real potential to reduce the suitability of the area for wildlife. This is not opinion or supposition on the part of our agency; "scientific peer reviewed literature supports our concerns.
The analysis being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management is an attempt to quantify impacts and determine whether the potential benefits outweigh the harm of constructing and operating a commercial wind farm in the China Mountain area.
Let the bureaucratic process work before passing judgment on whether the project is good for Idaho or Twin Falls County.
(Editor's note: David Parrish is the supervisor of the Magic Valley Region of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game)