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Blowin' in the wind: Poppies vs. energy

That's what The Lakes Town Council is doing this week, inviting a spokesman from PPM Energy to speak at Saturday's meeting on behalf of a project that has some poppy lovers up in arms.

On one side of the issue is PPM Energy, an Oregon-based subsidiary of ScottishPower that plans to erect 130 wind turbines in the foothills near the Antelope Valley Caifornia Poppy Reserve.

On the other side is the group Friends of the Poppy Reserve, which approached The Lakes Town Council months ago and asked it to oppose construction of the turbines.

PPM Energy in 2004 placed two meteorological towers on property near the reserve to measure wind speed, a first step in gaining approval from the state Public Utilities Commission to erect wind turbines, which would harness the Antelope Valley's most abundant resource — the wind — and convert it to renewable energy that would provide electricity for the masses.

But some residents are worried about blemishing the desert's natural vista with the humongous rotating mills.

"It would wipe us out in the Poppy Reserve. It would destroy our view," Milt Stark, president of the Poppy Reserve Mojave Desert Interpretive Association, has said.

Each year, thousands of visitors travel to the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
That's what The Lakes Town Council is doing this week, inviting a spokesman from PPM Energy to speak at Saturday's meeting on behalf of a project that has some poppy lovers up in arms.

On one side of the issue is PPM Energy, an Oregon-based subsidiary of ScottishPower that plans to erect 130 wind turbines in the foothills near the Antelope Valley Caifornia Poppy Reserve.

On the other side is the group Friends of the Poppy Reserve, which approached The Lakes Town Council months ago and asked it to oppose construction of the turbines.

PPM Energy in 2004 placed two meteorological towers on property near the reserve to measure wind speed, a first step in gaining approval from the state Public Utilities Commission to erect wind turbines, which would harness the Antelope Valley's most abundant resource — the wind — and convert it to renewable energy that would provide electricity for the masses.

But some residents are worried about blemishing the desert's natural vista with the humongous rotating mills.

"It would wipe us out in the Poppy Reserve. It would destroy our view," Milt Stark, president of the Poppy Reserve Mojave Desert Interpretive Association, has said.

Each year, thousands of visitors travel to the 1,745-acre state reserve, 15 miles west of Lancaster in the Antelope Buttes, to enjoy views of hills covered in the California state flower, a view that foes fear would be obliterated by the wind turbines.

Friends of the Poppy Reserve worry that the windmills would slaughter more than the view. Reports from other wind farms indicate the turbines might kill a lot of birds. Fewer raptors would mean more rodents. And because rodents eat seeds, more rodents could translate into fewer flowers.

But not everyone on the Town Council was ready to jump on the anti-turbine bandwagon. Council President Bob Large said PPM at least deserved a chance to defend its project.

"There are some of us who are concerned about energy sources," he said. "We've got one side of the story here, but I'm not comfortable taking sides without seeing if the other (group) is willing to talk."

After a couple of months' trying, Large was able to contact Ty Daul, vice president of business development at PPM Energy. After Large brought up some of the residents' concerns and questions about wind farms in other areas, Daul agreed to come speak to the Town Council.

After 16 years with the company, Daul's résumé is long: He has helped develop projects in Washington, Colorado and Minnesota. He also worked on the Shiloh wind generation facility in Solano County.

Large said the council tried to clear items off Saturday's agenda to make ample room for Daul's presentation, which is expected to take about 30 minutes, and a question-and-answer session.

"The idea is to really explore the issues and give them an opportunity to present their best case," Large said.

Saturday's meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Council Center, 17520 Elizabeth Lake Road.

Source: http://www.avpress.com/n/30...

JAN 31 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/1131-blowin-in-the-wind-poppies-vs-energy
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