Biden looks to move proposed wind farm away from WWII memorial after local backlash

By Around the Web


(Image by Peter Dargatz from Pixabay)

By Nick Pope
Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration is looking to shrink and move a proposed onshore wind project in Idaho after receiving considerable pushback from local residents, according to the Associated Press.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently published its final environmental review for Idaho’s Lava Ridge wind project, specifying its preference to see the project scaled down by nearly 50% and moved several more miles away from a World War II memorial dedicated to interned Japanese-Americans in the area, according to the AP. The project has drawn intense opposition from locals, in large part because of concern that its presence would undermine the experience for those visiting the memorial site, known as the Minidoka National Historic Site.

The BLM’s preferred alternative would cut the number of the project’s wind turbines from 400 to 241 and limit the maximum turbine height at 660 feet, according to the AP. The nearest turbine to the memorial site would be nine miles away under the BLM’s preferred alternative, whereas the initial 2020 proposal for the project would have placed turbines within about two miles of the memorial’s visitor center.

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Luke Papez, a senior director of project development for the NewYork-based LS Power, characterized the agency’s preferred alternative as balancing environmental concerns and advancing domestic energy production, according to the AP. Magic Valley Energy — the company developing the Lava Ridge project — is a subsidiary of LS Power.

Friends of Mindonka — a group that has opposed the project because of the impacts it may have on the memorial — is not pleased with the BLM’s environmental review. Other interests, such as local governments and ranchers, have also spoken out against the project.

“At the request of the Bureau of Land Management, we provided detailed historical research to the Biden Administration to enable them to better protect the lands where American citizens of Japanese ancestry were unjustly incarcerated and exploited for labor to clear land and build infrastructure,” Robyn Achilles, the executive Director of Friends of Minidoka, said in a statement addressing the environmental review. “Most of that research was disregarded in this decision. They are choosing to flout National Park Service policies which protect a historic landscape in favor of a highly damaging and obstructive project. The Biden Administration needs to do a better job and make a real commitment to protect Minidoka and our heritage, or we will be dealing with Lava Ridge and other projects forever.”

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson have both expressed opposition to Lava Ridge as recently as last week, according to the AP.

Neither the BLM nor Magic Valley Energy responded immediately to requests for comment.

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