Home Opinion Editorials Find common ground on wind farm proposal
Find common ground on wind farm proposal
A lot of discussion is taking place concerning Horizon Wind’s proposal
for another wind farm in Union County. A group has formed to oppose the
Antelope Ridge Wind Farm, citing issues related to property values,
impact on viewsheds as well as other things.
Some people are requesting that The Observer take a stand against the proposal. Although we have concerns, the fact is it would be premature to come out either for or against the proposal. Too many details need to be resolved before we can decide one way or another about Horizon’s proposal. Generally speaking, Union County needs economic investment and growth. Horizon’s proposal is one of the few things we have going for us. It would be a significant investment in Union County, one with an immediate and significant infusion of capital in our local economy, and one with longer range impact as well, though how much is one of the issues that needs to be better defined.
At the same time, however, there are some concerns. The Observer long has supported the concept of encouraging more clean energy sources and the need to find long-term alternatives to our reliance on oil, which is a finite resource that will someday — whether 50 years or 500 years from now — run out. And like everyone else, we jumped on the wind bandwagon when Horizon built the Elkhorn wind farm.
But Antelope Ridge is a different project, a bigger project, with many more towers projected. The placement of those towers is of major concern. The Grande Ronde Valley’s viewshed, and Union in particular, shouldn’t be ringed with 500-foot towers. Horizon will need to pay special attention to the placement of the towers. The unobstructed views that Union County has had for years, must be taken into account.
Horizon has said it is interested in working with the local community. The company has been a good community partner for the past few years and likely wants that relationship to continue. It has stressed over and over that the siting for the towers hasn’t been determined. Surely it will want to place them in places that are less, not more, obtrusive.
At lot about the project remains to be seen. Horizon is planning a major investment in Union County, one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Union County needs investments. But it also shouldn’t be expected to
just rollover because a company is planning a big investment.
Somewhere there’s a middle ground. Both sides should strive to find it.