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Actual reasons for people's opposition towards Lava Ridge

Magic Valley Times-News|Stop Lava Ridge Committee|September 5, 2022
IdahoImpact on LandscapeImpact on People

We put forth that given Twin Falls, Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka County Commissioners have signed resolutions in opposition to the Lava Ridge and Salmon Falls wind projects; Idaho legislators Laurie Lickley (R) and Ned Burns (D) have written letters to the Bureau of Land Management asking them to hold off on the permit; and Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, and Representative Simpson have also written to the Idaho BLM advising them to listen to their constituents and reminded them to act accordingly. 


An opinion published August 22, 2022 by Randy Stapilus was titled “Opposition to wind project strictly political”. However, we believe for the vast majority of the people opposing the Lava Ridge Wind project politics do not enter into it. In fact, people of all political beliefs in southern Idaho are opposed to this and other huge wind projects for many reasons and none of them are based on a political party or their political beliefs.
 
Reasons for opposition have not shifted in the least since the general public was informed of it. It has been strong and growing stronger. Opposition is based on the fact that these projects have far reaching effects on all the citizens of Idaho. They will be sprawled over hundreds of thousands of acres of land that belongs to the people and the monetary return on these projects for Idaho citizens will be minimal. Mr. Stapilus says that the “project would have major economic and other impacts, mostly positive, some ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]
     
An opinion published August 22, 2022 by Randy Stapilus was titled “Opposition to wind project strictly political”. However, we believe for the vast majority of the people opposing the Lava Ridge Wind project politics do not enter into it. In fact, people of all political beliefs in southern Idaho are opposed to this and other huge wind projects for many reasons and none of them are based on a political party or their political beliefs.
 
Reasons for opposition have not shifted in the least since the general public was informed of it. It has been strong and growing stronger. Opposition is based on the fact that these projects have far reaching effects on all the citizens of Idaho. They will be sprawled over hundreds of thousands of acres of land that belongs to the people and the monetary return on these projects for Idaho citizens will be minimal. Mr. Stapilus says that the “project would have major economic and other impacts, mostly positive, some not.” We give it to him that the impacts will be major, but completely disagree that they will be “mostly positive.” The irreparable damage to our high country desert with these wind projects will have very real negative impacts on grazing, agriculture, roads, recreation, aviation, and tourism. According to the Lava Ridge Wind Project plan of development dated June 21, 2022, Magic Valley Energy proposes to construct up to 400 wind turbines ranging from 390 to 740 feet tall, 5 permanent meteorological towers as high as the wind turbines, up to 5 substations around 75’ tall and all connected by transmission lines 60-90 feet tall and 300-350 feet apart running turbine to turbine. They will also need to carve hundreds of miles of maintenance roads. These are just a few aspects of the project that will obviously be devastating to the wide open vistas that Idaho is famous for. These projects will be devastating to the beautiful animals, birds, reptiles and plant life that Idahoans value deeply. Cultural and historic sites will be damaged or destroyed. It is impossible to site all of the impacts these projects will have on southern Idaho on this page. The attitude Mr. Stapilus conveyed in his writing towards the residents of southern Idaho is cavalier and rude at best, but perhaps it is because he no longer lives in Idaho and doesn’t seem to be knowledgeable or care about the impacts of these projects on the livelihoods and lifestyles of it Idahoans.
 
It is said the project will bring in jobs, however, the Magic Valley Energy website states that upon completion of the proposed project they will need 20 permanent positions. The construction phase of the project will employ as many as 850 workers, but it is highly unlikely the entire labor force will come from Idaho because the energy company will be employing union workers from out of state to fulfill agreements they make with their potential state utility commissions who purchase the power. Contrast that to Glanbia Nutritionals employing over 800 people throughout Idaho; Chobani employed 2,200 people overall, with 902 production, research and development workers in Idaho (as of February 8, 2021) and Amalgamated Sugar who employs 1,000 workers. These companies and many others actually utilize Idaho resources to the real benefit of Idaho.
 
The investors of LS Power will be the primary beneficiary. Let’s be clear that LS Power is a private equity company based in New York City and the investors are not known to us, Mr. Stapilus, our local and federal legislators or anyone outside of themselves as far as we know. Consumers of electricity in our neighboring states to the west will presumably get power generated here in Idaho, but it does not mean their rates will be lower or power will be any more consistent. It is unclear if Idaho will be able to purchase power from MVE if and when power needs grow in our state. This project would not be feasible to LS Power if not for federal tax credits and subsidies that we taxpayers provide. It would not even be considered if it were not to be highly profitable for their investors. LS Power does not give a plug nickel about what damage is done to the wild, open, clean high desert of southern Idaho.
 
In that Mr. Stapilus states opposition to the Lava Ridge wind project is political, we put forth that given Twin Falls, Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka County Commissioners have signed resolutions in opposition to the Lava Ridge and Salmon Falls wind projects; Idaho legislators Laurie Lickley (R) and Ned Burns (D) have written letters to the Bureau of Land Management asking them to hold off on the permit; and Senator Crapo, Senator Risch, and Representative Simpson have also written to the Idaho BLM advising them to listen to their constituents and reminded them to act accordingly. We also want to point out that LS Power has retained a powerful lobbyist to the tune of $20,000 per month for the wind projects and an additional $20,000 per month to complete the transmission line from Nevada through Twin Falls and Jerome Counties to support their wind projects. So yes, it is political for some.
 
Stop Lava Ridge Committee
 
Dean Dimond
 
John Arkoosh
 
Ashley Van Tassell
 
Mark Doerr
 
Janet Keegan
 
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