Wind project concerns must be addressed
At one time there was a great surge of support for investing in
alternative renewable energy sources such as wind, sun and geothermal.
Some green activists pushed hard for more wind power. Today with wind
farms sprouting up around Oregon like mushrooms, and some in prime
visual areas like the Columbia River Gorge and the Grande Ronde Valley,
some people aren’t so sure it’s always the best idea. Their concerns
include habitat destruction, healthy ecosystems, protecting the natural
heritage, preservation of natural resources and viewscapes, and
decommissioning once a project is over.
Supporters say wind farms have many benefits. They include providing family wage jobs, and generating renewable green energy, property taxes for local counties and lease payments to landowners.
That’s why it’s important for people, whether for or against a proposed project, to get involved. Union County has a large project looming on the horizon — the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm.
Horizon Wind Energy has formally filed a site application with the state Energy Facility Siting Council with the intent of building the wind farm. It would be situated in the area of Craig Mountain 10 miles southeast of
La Grande in and around the route of the Oregon Trail. The proposed wind farm, if it finds electricity buyers, could be about three times larger than the Elkhorn Valley facility near Telocaset, and the area is said to be one of the windiest in the Northwest in winter when people have the greatest demand for electricity.
With any project of this magnitude we must ask ourselves, what is the greatest good for the greatest number of people? Strong arguments exist on both sides of the issue.
Horizon has some stringent hurdles to jump in going through the siting process. Its representatives say the company is committed to addressing concerns that have been expressed. We hope they live up to that pledge.