Weigh in with state on wind farm issue

Written by Observer editorial February 03, 2011 02:57 pm
Both sides in the area’s big wind farm debate had a chance to present their cases to the state Energy Facility Siting Council last week at a meeting in Union. The hearing in the S.E. Miller School gymnasium gave residents a chance to voice their opinions and served as a good reminder that the public comment period is open. The debate is so significant locally that attendees filled the room to capacity. They seemed about evenly split between opponents and proponents of the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm. And as heated as the debate has been over the course of the past two years, everyone was civil, which was good to see.

Most of the issues that surfaced have been covered before, but it was important for the siting council to hear them. Concerns about the eagle fatality rate were brought up. Some folks are concerned about the impacts on health. Proponents addressed jobs and economic investment in the area.

The Energy Facility Siting Council is leaving the public comment period open until Feb. 14. Anyone who wants to weigh in should do so by writing to Sue Oliver, Energy Facility Siting Officer, 395 E. Highland Ave., Hermiston,
OR 97838. Comments and facts that pertain specifically to the standards established by the state will carry more weight than those that are strictly emotional. After the comment period closes, the council will issue a proposed order. Then another hearing will be held before a final decision is reached.

The process is continuing. Citizens, whichever side they are on, need to take part. If you want to weigh in, do so directly to the siting officer. It’s what a public process is all about.