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Protest planned over Hatchet Ridge Wind Project

Saying its blades will leave eagle blood in the air and on the ground, opponents of the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project are planning a protest rally. "It just really needs to be relooked at," said Radley Davis, a member of the Pit River Tribe and one of the protest organizers. The protest will be at noon Friday in front of the Shasta County Administration Center, organizers said.

Saying its blades will leave eagle blood in the air and on the ground, opponents of the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project are planning a protest rally.

"It just really needs to be relooked at," said Radley Davis, a member of the Pit River Tribe and one of the protest organizers.

The protest will be at noon Friday in front of the Shasta County Administration Center, organizers said.

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors denied appeals to the project - which will result in the construction of 43 turbines in a 6 1/2-mile line on Hatchet Ridge near Burney - in early November, granting its developer a permit to build.

"The permit is final and unappealable," said George Hardie, senior developer for Babcock and Brown, the project's main financier.

According to environmental documents filed by the developers, the turbines would kill a bald eagle every two to three years. But they said the mortality rate could be much higher because of the large number of bald eagles living near and moving over the land.

The turbines will also likely kill migrating sandhill cranes, documents state.

If everything goes according to plan, Hardie said construction of the $200 million project should... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Saying its blades will leave eagle blood in the air and on the ground, opponents of the Hatchet Ridge Wind Project are planning a protest rally.

"It just really needs to be relooked at," said Radley Davis, a member of the Pit River Tribe and one of the protest organizers.

The protest will be at noon Friday in front of the Shasta County Administration Center, organizers said.

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors denied appeals to the project - which will result in the construction of 43 turbines in a 6 1/2-mile line on Hatchet Ridge near Burney - in early November, granting its developer a permit to build.

"The permit is final and unappealable," said George Hardie, senior developer for Babcock and Brown, the project's main financier.

According to environmental documents filed by the developers, the turbines would kill a bald eagle every two to three years. But they said the mortality rate could be much higher because of the large number of bald eagles living near and moving over the land.

The turbines will also likely kill migrating sandhill cranes, documents state.

If everything goes according to plan, Hardie said construction of the $200 million project should start in late spring and it should be producing power for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. by the end of the year. Hatchet Ridge is expected to produce 103 megawatts of power, or enough to power 30,000 to 35,000 homes.

The company recognizes that the turbines will kill some bald eagles and sandhill cranes, Hardie said, and steps are being undertaken to compensate for the losses. Those measures include the purchase of land for a sandhill crane breeding habitat and a one-time payment of $100,000 for bald eagle conservation.

As for the protest, "I just think it is much ado about nothing," Hardie said.

But those planning the rally, which they hope will draw about 100 people, said there is still much to be addressed. In a Sunday advertisement in the Record Searchlight announcing the protest, organizers said the green energy project is "not clean if blood is in the air and on the ground."

The announcement refers to Hatchet Ridge as Bunchgrass Mountain, which Davis, a member of the Pit River Tribe, said is the translation of the native name for the ridgeline above Burney.

James Hayward Sr., a co-chair of the Advocates for the Protection of Sacred Sites, said the developers should consider turbine designs that kill fewer birds.

"There are better ways to build towers," Hayward said.

Along with his group, members of the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development, the Indigenous Environmental Network and the International Indian Treaty Council are organizing the protest.

Davis said the protesters think there could be grounds for a court case because of federal laws aimed at protecting bald eagles.

"The county isn't above the law," he said.


Source: http://www.redding.com/news...

FEB 26 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19301-protest-planned-over-hatchet-ridge-wind-project
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