Library filed under Impact on People from Montana
Toward the conclusion of the meeting, Clare rose to speak. "After everything you guys have said today, I still believe in wind energy to a point. I think the best move is to do a study - take a year and see if the study looks really good. It was good for all of us to come together," she said. ...At the conclusion of the meeting, BLUAC Chairman Shelley Gonzales said she would not have voted for the permit because wind turbines are not specifically mentioned in county zoning regulations.
NorthWestern Energy may have the juice, but the people have the power. That was the overwhelming message Wednesday evening when area residents packed council chambers to tell commissioners they oppose the utility company's plans for a major transmission line through southwestern Montana. The crowd spilled into the hallway where another roughly 30 people stood and listened as residents voiced their concerns about the 500-kilovolt power line ruining the visual aesthetics of their rural property.
Jerry McRae didn't mince words when talking about a high-voltage transmission line that will cross his land near here. "You're going to have a hell of a time building a power line in this community," McRae said. ...Construction on the line is scheduled to begin in March. "It can't be built without eminent domain in this community right now," McRae warned right off the bat.
Potential wind-farm development was the overriding reason why the state Department of Environmental Quality approved the proposed high-voltage power line that would tread its way across eastern Teton County between Great Falls and Lethbridge, Alta. Montana Alberta Tie Ltd., or MATL, with offices in Calgary, Alta., submitted an application under DEQ's Major Facility Siting Act program on Dec. 1, 2005, providing a variety of reasons why its proposed privately-owned, 230-kilovolt transmission line would benefit the region. ... Aggrieved parties who believe they are adversely affected by DEQ's decision have 30 days to appeal.
No matter where NorthWestern Energy Corp. proposes building a high power line through southwest Montana, it's an unpopular sell to people whose homes and land it would pass by. "Everybody else said no so you came through us," John Pullman, a landowner in the Boulder Valley, said during a meeting at the Cardwell School Monday that drew more than 45 people. That pretty much summed up the sentiment of landowners who are miffed that NorthWestern would propose a major power line through an agricultural valley. NorthWestern is planning to build a 500-kilovolt power line from Townsend to Twin Falls, Idaho, and has proposed three potential routes.
However, not all Montanans are ready to raise their glasses. Among the skeptics is Ursula Mattson of East Glacier. She said she is all for the benefits of wind development, but worries about a potential downside, mainly "the negative impact of these huge wind farms right in front of the most spectacular scenery in our country." ..."We don't have much authority over wind farms," said Kristi DuBois, native species coordinator for Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks in Missoula. She likens the state's current level of knowledge about the wind industry and its potential effect on wildlife to what was known about the impact of hydro-electric facilities on rivers and fish when they were first constructed. For example, the state has very little information about migration pathways of bats, she said. Without that information, it's difficult to for the state to provide input on the siting of facilities to lessen bat fatalities from turbine blades, she said.
Dutton resident Katrina Martin says an international power line proposed, in part, through Pondera and Teton counties in northcentral Montana is being built on the backs of the farmers. Martin has voiced her concern about the diagonal portion of the Montana Alberta Tie Ltd.'s proposed private transmission line since the company announced the project in December 2005. The 215-mile, 230-kilovolt power line project to be built between Great Falls and Lethbridge, Alta., is in the final stages of regulatory approval on both sides of the border. An environmental impact statement was published this spring that outlines three possible routes for the line in Montana. MATL is a Calgary, Alta.-based energy transmission company whose ...The existing economic development, namely farmers on the ground, has to pay a "terrible price for the speculative proposal that wind farms would be developed," Martin said. ...The line's routing options have been known to MATL for months, Martin said. "If Alternative 2 is the only one that can be considered, what's the point?" She said MATL had an "irresponsible attitude" when it comes to route selection.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 was an attempt to pave the way - almost literally - for energy companies to take advantage of pre-approved corridors that cut through public lands in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The problem is that much of the land that would be pre-approved is in sensitive wildlife habitat and cherished wildlands. Routes were chosen more with an eye to economic efficiencies than environmental impacts, and the result is a plan that is blatantly skewed to favor the interests of the energy companies over the interests of the general public. ...The Energy Department recently released a draft of its Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and will be accepting public comment on the statement until mid-February. It plans to hold a public meeting in Helena on Jan. 29, but you can provide your comments now by going to its Web site at corridoreis.anl.gov. We hope Montanans from all over the state will take the opportunity to firmly oppose the plan as it's currently proposed, because it will take all of Montana to sink this awful idea.
Following complaints from farmers, the U.S. Department of Energy is now planning its toughest environmental review of a proposed $120 million power transmission line between Great Falls and Lethbridge, Alberta.... Wind farm developers have said the line is critical to construction of their projects. To date, three companies have signed up to use capacity on the line to ship power from wind farms they're planning between Great Falls and the Canadian border.