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Commissioners oppose location of wind generation projects

Lincoln County Commissioners, during their regular meeting November 10, said they were not opposed to the development of wind-generated power in the County, but would rather seek different locations than the ones being proposed. Mission Edison Group, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison, had approached the County about building wind generators on Mt. Wilson and Table Mountain, both a little north of Pioche. County Commissioners have said they do not think those locations are the best places for such large generators.

Lincoln County Commissioners, during their regular meeting November 10, said they were not opposed to the development of wind-generated power in the County, but would rather seek different locations than the ones being proposed.

Mission Edison Group, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison, had approached the County about building wind generators on Mt. Wilson and Table Mountain, both a little north of Pioche. County Commissioners have said they do not think those locations are the best places for such large generators.

The most obvious reason, as stated by several Commissioners, is that Mt. Wilson is a protected habitat area for sage grouse. It is a well-used mule deer and elk habitat and several ranchers graze cattle in the area.

Pioche resident Tom Brown spoke before the Commission and expressed his concerns about the wind generators being built in the County. He said their only purpose is to produce power for Southern California, with very little, if any, to be given to Nevada. Representatives from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, (NDOW), local Rod and Gun Club, and the Lincoln County Game Management Board also attended.

They were asking Commissioners to update the November 2005... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Lincoln County Commissioners, during their regular meeting November 10, said they were not opposed to the development of wind-generated power in the County, but would rather seek different locations than the ones being proposed.

Mission Edison Group, a subsidiary of Southern California Edison, had approached the County about building wind generators on Mt. Wilson and Table Mountain, both a little north of Pioche. County Commissioners have said they do not think those locations are the best places for such large generators.

The most obvious reason, as stated by several Commissioners, is that Mt. Wilson is a protected habitat area for sage grouse. It is a well-used mule deer and elk habitat and several ranchers graze cattle in the area.

Pioche resident Tom Brown spoke before the Commission and expressed his concerns about the wind generators being built in the County. He said their only purpose is to produce power for Southern California, with very little, if any, to be given to Nevada. Representatives from the Nevada Department of Wildlife, (NDOW), local Rod and Gun Club, and the Lincoln County Game Management Board also attended.

They were asking Commissioners to update the November 2005 resolution given to Mission Edison that spoke about the County's opposition to locating the wind generators on the two mountain tops. "They have not chosen a good spot," Brown noted. "It's full of hard rock up there, and the construction costs are going to be very high."

Mike Scott, with NDOW, said the agency has submitted a prepared statement stating that they "are supportive of renewable energy development to assist in meeting the state's green energy goals and objective...but NDOW is not supportive of renewable energy proposals clearly at the expense of wildlife and habitats." Scott believed, since the area is the last stronghold for sage grouse in the County, the range contraction for sage grouse would be about 60-70 miles. A petition is being prepared to list sage grouse as an endangered species, Scott noted.

Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, is known to be a strong proponent of renewable energy such as wind generation. However, Congresswoman Shelley Berkley, D-NV, has said she is willing to meet with people from Lincoln County concerning the placement of wind generators.

Brown told Commissioners, "Now is the time to begin fighting the developer's efforts. If the County waits until they have got their studies and decided they are going to go to Congress with a plan to move forward, Congress will most likely allow it," he said. "There are so many mountain ranges in the state that can accommodate this type of facility without ruining the habitat and environment. There are much better areas, and I think that is the way we need to approach it. Find a better location for it where it can do as good a job without tearing up everything in the recreational spots for the state."

Ronda Hornbeck said she has spoken with Senator Reid and invited some of his staff to come and tour the Mt. Wilson area, possibly this coming spring. "So they can go to the top of the mountain and can see, and have a better understanding of what they are going to be sitting in judgment of when it comes down to this."

She said, "The Mt. Wilson and Table Mountain areas are currently designated for multiple use, and how will that be able to maintain multiple use with the huge structures up there, and not allowing hunters within miles of the area? That will be taken away and that is public land."

Hunters would likely not be allowed in the area of the wind generators. One reason might possibly be because the huge blades would create too much of a temptation for target practice, among other things.

BLM could still allow Southern California Edison to purchase the land on the mountain tops, however Mrs. Hornbeck said neither one is yet on the BLM land disposal list.

She commented that closing off those areas would be a big loss for sportsman. "Six months out of the year we have a huge population coming in from Clark County who spend money here on tourism and hunting."

County Planning Director Clint Wertz said, "The 27-year old Lincoln County Code is very inadequate to meet the challenges presented by the developers for renewable energy. The only provision is to issue land use permits to regulate what happens here with the wind project." The Code needs to be updated to be able to address how to review energy projects within the County.

He said, "If there is just simple resistance (not a well developed plan) to allowing this type of use in any given area, there is a very good chance the Feds will claim Preemption to our county zoning, and we will have no say in it at all. How we are involved in this process is very, very important. If push comes to shove on this, our little special use process goes out the door."


Source: http://www.lincolncountyrec...

NOV 20 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17989-commissioners-oppose-location-of-wind-generation-projects
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