Public encouraged to attend, ask questions
As most people in Union County know, Horizon Wind Energy — the owners and operators of the Elkhorn Valley Wind Farm near Telocaset — has proposed a second wind farm known as the Antelope Ridge Wind Farm.
Horizon’s operating Elkhorn Valley Wind Farm provides jobs, significant taxes and fees, and economic investment for Union County. Horizon’s proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm will provide more jobs, additional revenue for local services and greater economic investment for Union County.
A recent Observer editorial on the nation’s economic recovery effort
asked, “Where is the investment in small towns and rural regions?”
Speaking for the Forest Service, it’s all over Northeast Oregon.
The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has received $12.3 million in
American Re-investment and Recovery Act funds. These funds include:
Gambling has become part of the Oregon landscape, culture and
economy. Oregon has more forms of legalized gambling and offers easier
access to gambling than most other states. This week has been
proclaimed Oregon Problem Gambling Awareness Week, and our state joins
a national campaign to promote the benefits of problem gambling
prevention and treatment.
Problem gambling remains a hidden issue that can have devastating
effects on individuals, families and the community. Some people become
addicted to gambling in much the same way a person can become addicted
to drugs or alcohol.
It isn’t about environmentalists. It is about ecology but only as it
serves economics. Both terms have the same root, the Greek word oikos,
which means home. Before we can manage our home (economics) we need to
understand it (ecology).
Forest stands cascade off of Mount Emily, fingering down through
shaded draws and eventually merging to form the forests that cover the
benches above the Grande Ronde Valley. Those benches were originally
covered with old-growth Ponderosa pine. The Union County Museum hosts
photos that show log decks in Imbler from the turn of the last century.
Those decks are filled with giant Ponderosa logs that were most likely
taken from the immediate vicinity of Mount Emily.
Dear Neighbors of Union County,
I encourage the taxpaying citizens of Union County to continue to
question your Union County commissioners about the benefits of the
proposed wind farm(s). Maybe they’ll be wonderful, with all the
benefits promised. And maybe they won’t.
Take it from us in your sister county of Wallowa: two of your
commissioners have been very effective in decisions ruining our rural
beauty. The hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parked rail cars we
look at 24/7 from Joseph to Minam are a manifestation of a failed
business plan. While the original mutual county effort to save the
rails was noble and with hope, the continuation of this plan beyond
anything but paying down the debt we took on in 1999 is akin to keeping
clipper ships alive in the face of steam.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Treasury awarded $546 million to
Iberdrola from the stimulus program. Per the CEO of Iberdrola, the
offshore parent company of Horizon and the developer of Antelope Ridge,
they expect to receive another $470 million in 2010.
Horizon’s Elkhorn Wind Farm in 2007 and 2008 received $11 million
each year in tax credits from the state of Oregon. In addition, Union
County gave Horizon a property tax deduction of $331,680 each year for
2008 and 2009 which will continue for the next 10 years. The federal
government also allowed in 2008 and 2009, a Production Tax Credit of
$5,518,500 each year wherein it will continue for 10 years which will
amount to $55,188,000. If you add up these numbers, it amounts to in
excess of $81 million over 10 years, which are political giveaways at
taxpayers’ expense. Just imagine what kind of jobs that could be
created with this kind of money being addressed to private sector and
Citizens of Union County have a proposal for a wind energy
generation facility to be constructed on the southern end of the
valley, in close proximity to Hot Lake and the city of Union.
Preliminary documents portray a project we feel is fiscally wasteful,
aesthetically grotesque and environmentally damaging, and as a result
we feel a need to highlight some issues.
Local budgets are lean yet our county commissioners are willing to
forgive millions of dollars in revenue by allowing development under a
Strategic Investment Program. Federal stimulus money, a large
percentage that will be going out of country, is mainly responsible for
the project development. Once constructed state tax dollars will be
subsidizing the project at an approximate rate of $23.34/MWH.
I read with great interest The Observer’s front page article on Feb. 11,
“La Grande District Option Levy...,” to see if there would be a line item for payment to Imbler Charter School District (ICSD) of $136,749.25, the payment for the education of 12 La Grande students with individual education plans, or IEPs, for the 2008-2009 school year.
As longtime residents of La Grande and the Grande Ronde Valley, we
are disheartened to see the City of La Grande considering cuts to
essential services and facilities that enhance the quality of life when
an option with less overall impact still remains.
It is easy to target fire, safety and emergency services as well as
the library and pool because they are the services most visible and
utilized by community members and those which evoke an emotional
response from people. The dissolution of the city’s Urban Renewal
District is one option that has not been “put on the table” by the La
Grande City Council.
Fire, police and ambulance services should not be cut except under
the most dire circumstances, as these essential services are a core
part of the community infrastructure.
A travesty of justice was handed the Elgin Museum and Historical Society at the Elgin City Council meeting Jan. 12.
After 10 years of operating in the former police department in the
Elgin Opera House building, the city council voted to vacate the museum
from these premises for expansion of the current opera house lessee’s
theater business. In October, the city council voted to remove the
museum from the upstairs former library of the opera house, which it
had occupied for the past seven years.
Museum board members approached the city council on Aug. 13, 2002,
asking permission to expand the museum to the second floor of the opera
house (the former library). Following is a quote from the city council
minutes: “The consensus of the council was in favor of this request.”
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