Library from Idaho
Months of hearings, votes, re-votes and debate are finished in one wind energy company's bid to build wind turbines in Wolverine Canyon. Monday, Bingham County Commissioners approved Ridgeline Energy's application to put up a 150-turbine wind farm. They had been trying since November to get the approval.
Bingham County has spent the past several months settling disputes about the proposed wind farm project in the Wolverine area. Today, the county commissioners discussed two appeals that had been received in regards to a recent decision. Both appeals were related to the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission's decision to give a special use permit for the windfarm. Both appeals were discussed in depth during today's public meeting and the county commission voted unanimously to deny the appeals.
The proposed Goshen South Wind Project that would place 150 wind turbines in the mountains east of Blackfoot will go back to the County Commissioners to finish an appeal of its special use permit following a decision by the Planning and Zoning Commission on Wednesday that member Larry Kohler’s vote in favor of the permit for the turbines can stand. ...Kohler, vacationing in Oregon with his family on a trip planned before Wednesday's meeting was scheduled, participated by phone, stating emphatically that he does not stand to gain financially from the project, had not been approached by the company as a potential lessor, nor discussed it with those who are. At the conclusion of the hearing, P&Z Commissioner Kent Banner made the motion to accept Kohler's statement. It was seconded by Gay Sorensen, and Hortense Nelson voted with them.
Last night's planning and zoning meeting lasted until 2:00 in the morning. It was a chance for anyone to come forward with a conflict of interest regarding planning and zoning board member Larry Kohler and his property in Wolverine Canyon, which sits adjacent to the area where Ridgeline Energy proposed to build 150 wind turbines. Planning and zoning officials tell us that no one came forward ...
The U.S. population is expected to grow by 45 million before 2026, and Idaho's population grew about 13 percent in the first sixth years of the century. In the past three years alone Idaho Power added over 40,000 new customers. That's all added up to the need for more generating capacity and transmission, and Keen said it's going to cost a bundle - about $300 million a year from now till 2010. ...recognizing that many renewable sources of energy don't produce power at a constant rate, Keen said new conventional resources must be sought out and expanded, including coal, natural gas, hydroelectric and nuclear power. "Nuclear has to be a part of the solution long-run if we want to reduce our carbon footprint," he said.
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.
A local energy company will have to decide whether to appeal a ruling after the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee rejects its plans for a wind farm. Western Energy of Firth proposed to build 66 turbines on a private ranch east of Shelley but a tied vote won't let that happen. The Planning and Zoning Committee tied the vote 4 to 4 which automatically means they had to deny the special use permit. So, Western Energy has 10 days from now to appeal that decision. And they said they sure will.
It's a debate still up in the air. Will the proposed 150 turbine wind farm be built in Bingham County? Ridgeline Energy, the company hoping to put up the turbines says the wind in the Wolverine area is some of the best which makes it ideal for generating energy. But this is just one of many projects they have going on in Eastern Idaho.
This sign was recently placed on the road leading to Wolverine Canyon in Idaho. The county fought to have the sign removed but it's still up. "Welcome to Wolverine Canyon. This property is currently used for livestock and agriculture activities. To protect the natural habitat please stay on the public roads and designated trails. The natural peace and beauty you find here will soon be lost forever by the installation of three hundred 490 foot tall windmills. Please enjoy your drive and take pictures, because Wolverine Canyon will never be the same."
It was the first joint meeting between the two 15-member groups, both of which include ranchers, scientists and others who advise the BLM on policy decisions. The two groups, accompanied by tribal and environmental representatives, sat through a presentation on the project and then drove onto the site to see a meteorological tower currently measuring wind speeds in the area. "A day in the field is worth 1,000 issue papers," Jenifer Arnold, associate district manager for the BLM Twin Falls District, told the crowd. ...Though RES states it does not believe any endangered species will be affected, it's up to a BLM-led environmental study to determine just what impact the project would have on the area. Species such as the sage grouse are being examined for listing by the federal government, and BLM officials said they weren't sure how a possible listing would affect the wind project. ...the most pointed questioning by far came from Katie Fite, biodiversity director for the Western Watersheds Project. Quizzing speakers on the proper way to study wildlife effects and the need for the tower in the first place, Fite said "This is the most inappropriate place on Earth to put a wind farm."
Eastern Idaho wind reeks havoc on your hair, but it's a hot commodity. About 40 people showed up in the Bingham County Courthouse to voice their opinion or listen to opinions concerning the Cedar Creek Wind Farm proposed by Western Energy LLC. ...They are expected to make a decision tonight however as of the end of our newscast no decision had been made.
The commissioners meeting ended almost as quickly as it began. A decision trumped by yet another technicality that will send the issue back to the Bingham County Planning & Zoning. "One of the members of the planning and zoning board...Mr. Collier owns property adjecent to the proposed project." That makes the earlier decision by the P&Z a possible conflict of interest. Now, a controversial issue over a wind farm in Bingham County will have to be re-heard by the planning and zoning commission which includes another public comment period.
It's been months of back and forth debating about a project spinning with opposition and Monday, was no different. A decision about the wind turbine project in the Wolverine Canyon is still up in the air. Bingham County Commissioners met Monday afternoon, after delaying a decision about a week ago. This time, they found a potential conflict of interest in the Planning and Zoning Committee's previous vote. Now, they're tossing it back to them to look at the problem a little closer. The latest development in this spinning saga is one of the newest members of the Planning and Zoning committee, Larry Kohler.
Some landowners who favor a wind farm coming to the area of Wolverine Canyon are a little concerned Tuesday morning about the upcoming public comment period, since there is worry that the public has been misinformed. ...Landowners on both sides of the controversy must face a re-do of the entire decision on bringing wind turbines to the area, after worries of a conflict of interest caused the commissioners to send the controversy back to Planning and Zoning.
It was supposed to be the meeting to end all meetings in the controversial proposed Ridgeline Energy wind farm. But once again, the Bingham County Commissioners brought their meeting to a very anti-climactic end without a decision. It was brought to the commissioners attention that the newest member of Bingham County's planning and zoning commission, Larry Kohler, had owned property near the proposed site in Wolverine Canyon. The county commissioners decided that his vote was a potential conflict of interest.
The wind must be great in Bingham County, because another company is asking to build wind turbines in the area. Wednesday night they went before the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee, with their 66 wind turbine proposal. Committee members from the planning and zoning board grilled Western Energy on every aspect on its proposal. Altogether about 50 people showed up to learn more, and to voice their opinion.
It's a controversy spinning with opposition. The proposed wind farm in Bingham County isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. This morning, the commissioners met to discuss whether the Planning and Zoning Committee acted appropriately in their 4-to-3 vote to approve the project. After three hours of questions and bouncing thoughts back and forth, they couldn't come up with an answer leaving the decision still up in the air. ...The big questions: Will these turbines fit under the zoned "Natural Resource Agricultural Land" and will they change the character of the area. Idaho Falls businessman and Wolverine Canyon property owner, Frank VanderSloot says wind turbines will not only destroy Mother Nature but may spiral out of control. "The county doesn't know where they're going to be. The county doesn't know where the 80 miles of roads are going to be and they're just approving it. Point blank," explained VanderSloot. Ridgeline says Bingham County will essentially be a partner in this endeavor.
The question of whether Ridgeline Energy Corp. will receive a special use permit for its proposed 150-turbine Goshen South Wind Project in a Natural Resources/Agriculture Zone in the mountains east of Blackfoot remains unanswered following a public meeting Tuesday of the Bingham County Commission. The commissioners met to consider two appeals of the County Planning and Zoning Commission decision when it voted 4-3 on April 23 to grant the special use permit for the project.
More than 20,000 acres of the Wolverine Canyon, east of Shelley, may be blanketed with more than 150 wind turbines. This, after the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission approved the installation in a 4 to 3 vote nearly a month ago. But this vision has one local man taking a stand against what he believes will destroy Mother Nature. The wind turbine controversy is stirring up well-known Idaho Falls businessman, Frank Vandersloot, so much he took an ad out in the newspaper. ...Bingham County Commissioner, Wayne Brower says, this area is zoned as a natural resource and agricultural land. And in a week, the commissioners will decide if the proposed wind turbines fit under that title.
This full-page advertisement appeared this week in both the Blackfoot and the Post Register newspapers in Idaho. The ad responds to the recent 4-3 vote by the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission to approve a giant wind project in Wolverine Canyon. An appeal of the decision has been lodged with the County Commissioners.