What defines Grande Ronde Valley is being threatened

By Tom Dimond April 19, 2010 03:00 pm
I came to the Grande Ronde Valley in 1971 to teach at Eastern Oregon State College as it was known then, now called Eastern Oregon University. The absence of posted properties in this area and lack of signs that said “Keep Out” or “No Trespassing” stood out vividly to me. People respected the property rights of others and actually helped landowners keep an eye on their properties. Everyone shared the responsibility of stewardship of the land whether they owned it or not. Residents viewed Northeast Oregon as a community of like-minded caretakers who helped each other and protected the land.

Over the past 40 years, “No Trespassing” signs have sprung up like noxious weeds on a pristine landscape. Today you need to know someone who trusts you to obtain permission to hunt or recreate on their land.

Non-residents have abused the privileges of open land over the years. Hunting and fishing have become lucrative business opportunities that often exclude local residents because of the cost. This is sad, but these changes pale in comparison to what is becoming the ultimate threat to our environment.

All that defines us as Eastern Oregon in and around the Grande Ronde Valley — our landscape, the views, our rural nature — is up for sale. Our Grande Ronde Valley is the second largest enclosed valley in the world. These industrial wind sites, passively called “wind farms,” are threatening our landscape, the wildlife and the health of everything and everyone we hold dear.

Don’t let these greedy interest groups turn us into the New Umatilla Depot. Do you really want the Grande Ronde Valley to look like Boardman? Don’t let greedy interest groups “greenwash” the wind energy project.

The Antelope Ridge Wind Project would be better called “Alien Tower Monsters Invade Eastern Oregon,” a sequel to “War of the Worlds!” Cheap technology is being used to ensure greatest profits. These structures will forever change our entire region. There will be no going back.

Where is the plan for decommissioning these wind towers when they wear out? They only last about 15 years. New technology that is more efficient and less destructive to the environment as well as our way of life is available now and more is being developed daily. Why do you think that the big companies are in such a hurry to get it done now? They want to use older, cheaper technology and collect as much subsidy as possible before regulations and guidelines are put into place that would be less destructive to the environment.

The wind tower carbon footprint is our new “Big Foot.” It will step on us all.

Tom Dimond is a Cove resident.