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Raúl Labrador files appeal to federal agency, complains about Lava Ridge Project

Posted at 1:15 PM, Jun 07, 2024

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — On June 6, the Bureau of Land Management released a preferred alternative plan that shrinks the Lava Ridge wind turbine project by nearly half of its total turbines. The alternative plan was still, however, not favored by many of Idaho's politicians, and now Attorney General Raúl Labrador has announced an administrative appeal with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to halt progress on the development.

RELATED | Lava Ridge Project alternative shrinks project following public feedback

The appeal asks the FAA to reconsider its determination that the Lava Ridge project poses "no hazard" to aviation in the area. The complaint points to the wind turbines as some of the tallest in the US which would, according to Labrador, pose an obvious hazard to local aircraft, airports, and especially to agricultural aviation operations.

“If built, the wind turbines would increase the difficulty and safety risks of performing aerial applications that are already quite difficult and risky. In some locations, or under certain conditions, the increased difficulty and risk may effectively preclude aerial applications to the crops or fields,” the filing stated.

“Strong words are just not enough,” said Attorney General Labrador. “The people of Idaho have overwhelmingly demanded action and deserve better than to be ignored by federal bureaucracies. Yesterday’s appeal is my office’s first of many steps in fighting this ill-conceived project that threatens Idaho’s agriculture, wildlife, and waterways.”

The BLM recently released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Lava Ridge project today and will likely release a final decision on the project—the “Record of Decision,” in a few weeks.