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Locals raise opposition to wind energy project

Posted at 12:32 PM, Jan 12, 2023

SOUTHERN IDAHO — A 73,000 acre wind energy project's future is currently on hold while waiting approval from the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM is expected to release its draft environmental impact statement this January while counties in southern Idaho and locals in the Magic Valley raise opposition to the renewable energy plan.

Counties like Jerome, Minidoka and Twin Falls have all come out against the project along with locals voicing their side against the wind farm. The group 'Stop Lava Ridge' began almost a year ago amassing close to 3,000 members on this facebook page.

Idaho farmers and ranchers near the proposed site have highlighted potential issues they see with the addition of the over 400 turbines added to southern Idaho.

“How is that going to affect my farm? How is it going to affect my way of life? How is it going to affect the wildlife? The roads? The community and everything?,” asked Dean Dimond, local farm owner. “It puts the closest tower less than a quarter mile from my farm and if you can’t fly a crop duster within two miles of it, that’s going to create a real problem for everybody that borders up to it.”

The group has also mentioned the probable affects and negative impact to grazing and wildlife if the project is approved.

Local ranchers have voiced their opposition as loss of federal grazing land could affect animals and wildlife. “My sons are the fourth generation participating in ranching now and we want to continue to do what we do. We love what we do, and we enjoy the landscape. We enjoy the wildlife. We enjoy the way of life and it's all going to change when we get this influx of all these renewable energy projects that it's going to be a very different world for us,” said John Arkoosh, local rancher.

“The impact to aviation, the Minidoka relocation center, ranching wildlife are areas that there does not seem to be any positive impact from this project,” said Mark Doerr, member of 'Stop Lava Ridge'.

Subcommittee meetings are set for January 25 and February 8 to review the draft environmental impact statement soon to be released by BLM.

The wind turbines, ultimately, will be green-lit or denied by BLM as the area proposed is federal land.

For more information on the 'Stop Lava Ridge' group, click here.