Library filed under Impact on People from Oregon
To continue developing east of Milton-Freewater ...is putting too much of a burden on one area of the county and the state. Make no mistake in identifying these 300- to 550-foot tall structures - they are industrial energy facilities - and the Umatilla County Planning Commissioners are now charged with sifting through the facts to determine whether this is the right decision to make for the majority of the people they serve.
The Umatilla Planning Commission is considering a proposal to keep wind turbines out of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The "No Turbine Zone" would amend the county's plan. Proponents say it was a result of secrecy about plans for the developments.
Successive generations of children growing up in Eastern Oregon may never know we were once surrounded by an expansive and majestic landscape devoid of wind turbines. Already the foothills that display a beauty all their own are becoming something of an anomaly. Wind turbines - and the necessity of high-voltage power lines to access the energy they produce - are the most recent threat to our Blue Mountains.
Dozens of wind turbines west of Boardman are so noisy, nearby homeowners say they're keeping them awake at night and even making them ill. "It's not healthy for us," Dan Williams said of the 240-foot-tall turbines he can see from his hilltop home. "It's like a freight train that's not coming or going." Dozens of wind turbines west of Boardman are so noisy, nearby homeowners say they're keeping them awake at night and even making them ill. "It's not healthy for us," Dan Williams said of the 240-foot-tall turbines he can see from his hilltop home. "It's like a freight train that's not coming or going." Williams is among neighbors along Oregon 74 demanding that Morrow County enforce state noise regulations on the Willow Creek Wind Energy Project or revoke its land-use permit.
Now Williams is ready to pack up and move. When he looks out his window, he sees a forest of wind towers. Behind his home, about a half mile away, another six turbines sit idle. Williams fears the day they start rotating, because, often, the sound of turbines already roars through his house like a freight train at top speed. "It's like a jet airplane that never takes off," said Sherry Eaton, another neighbor of the Willow Creek project. Eaton and her husband, Michael, are in despair over the wind project, which they say has ruined their chances for a peaceful life in the valley.
"Some of these areas are ecologically sensitive, and because this is renewable energy and something that we all expect is done ‘green,' there's an expectation that they balance environmental impacts with the development," Fenty said. Turbines can strike and kill birds and bats, and their construction and maintenance can disturb elk, deer and pronghorn, he said. The developer needs to take a look at the effects of the project, and show that these turbines won't have a substantial impact on the environment, Fenty said. ..."It's our assessment that the wind tower itself, and all of the activity around it from the wind tower operating, will be enough disturbance to the birds that (the) particular breeding area and nesting area will basically be extirpated," or wiped out, he said.
Wind energy is the latest rage in going green and in shifting the United States away from fossil-based energy supplies. And more wind turbines are coming to Oregon. It is even required by law. But with giant wind turbines now looming nearby, the Eaton's fear the rapid move to clean energy will come at the expense of their health. The problem is something called "Wind Turbine Syndrome."
Citizens in the Milton-Freewater area took another opportunity to voice their opposition to wind turbines in the Blue Mountains at a city council meeting Monday night. What started as an informational meeting by Horizon Wind Farms representative Valerie Schafer-Franklin turned into a discussion between citizens both on and off Weston Mountain about what they want to see happen, or not happen, in the Blues.
The idea of looking out onto the foothills of the Blue Mountains from Highway 11 or Milton-Freewater and seeing wind turbines sounds like a nightmare for some people who look at that view every day. But not many of those people have had much of a chance to express their frustration. Citizen Richard Jolly hosted a meeting Thursday in Milton-Freewater where many people got a chance to vet their frustrations and discuss their concerns.
Sherry Eaton pulled into the driveway of her rural, high-desert home to see one of several giant wind turbines being assembled a half-mile away. "I started to cry," Eaton, 57, recalled of her first sight of the Willow Creek Wind Project in late July. "They're going to be hanging over the back of our house, and now there's the medical thing." "The medical thing" is new research suggesting that living close to wind turbines, as Eaton and her 60-year old husband, Mike, soon will be doing, can cause sleep disorders, difficulty with equilibrium, headaches, childhood "night terrors" and other health problems. ...Concerns also are coming out of Europe about low-frequency noise from newly built wind turbines. For example, British physician Amanda Harry, in a February 2007 article titled "Wind Turbines, Noise and Health," wrote of 39 people, including residents of New Zealand and Australia, who suffered from the sounds emitted by wind turbines.
A proposed wind farm development Washington is creating some controversy. While the plan is still in the very early stages, the designers envision placing wind turbines on a ridge near Larch Mountain, east of Battle Ground. ...A proposed wind farm development Washington is creating some controversy. While the plan is still in the very early stages, the designers envision placing wind turbines on a ridge near Larch Mountain, east of Battle Ground.
Plans for a controversial wind farm on the hills above Mosier may be faltering. Almost a year has passed since developer UPC Wind first asked state regulators to review the 40-turbine project, which lies within the windy stretches of the Columbia River Gorge. Revisions to the proposal, promised more than six months ago, have yet to materialize. The delays underscore the difficulties UPC Wind faces as it tries to rearrange the turbines so that they're less visible from a federally protected scenic area, but still in breezy enough spots to produce a moneymaking venture. The Massachusetts-based company also is struggling to appease an outpouring of anger from residents near the proposed site, on Sevenmile Hill. So far, opposition remains organized and strong.
An energy developer from New York is moving forward with a project to build a gargantuan wind farm along the Columbia River in Gilliam and Morrow counties. If built out as proposed, Shepherd's Flat wind farm would be the largest in the Northwest and more than double the size of any individual wind project under development in Oregon. It would include as many as 303 wind turbines, some stretching 500 feet tall. At peak capacity, the project could generate up to 909 megawatts ...It would include 57 miles of new access roads, two substations, six meteorological towers, 17 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and another 103 miles of collector transmission lines. The application lists about 25 landowners within the site or within 500 feet of its boundaries.
A proposed wind farm on Seven Mile Hill near the tiny town of Mosier, Oregon is the centerpiece of the trouble that stems from development near a protected scenic area. The Cascade Wind Project, proposed by UPC Wind Partners, has thus far drawn serious opposition from not only residents of Mosier, but throughout the Gorge and beyond. The farm would be built just outside the Scenic Area boundary, and the 389-foot-high turbines of the 40 towers would be clearly visible from many areas in the Gorge, including Interstate 84 and McCall Point Trail. "This proposal is a slap in the face of the protection rights that everybody in the Gorge has had to live up to for the past twenty years," says Mike Rockwell, a real estate agent who lives in Mosier. "It's simply not a wise location."