A panel tasked with assessing the Bureau of Land Management’s draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project—which calls for installing up to 400 wind turbines on federal, state and private lands northeast of Twin Falls—has recommended a “no action” alternative that would not permit the project.
The recommendation by the Lava Ridge Wind Project Subcommittee—issued in a March 9 report—will be considered by the BLM Idaho Resource Advisory Council, which is scheduled to make a higher-level recommendation to the BLM later this spring. The Resource Advisory Council formed the subcommittee to review the draft Environmental Impact Statement, hear from various stakeholders and then report its recommendation on the project.
The final decision will be made by the BLM. It expects to release a final Environmental Impact Statement in the summer and to issue a decision in the fall.
The project—proposed by Magic Valley Energy, an affiliate on New York-based LS Power—calls for constructing a commercial-scale wind-energy facility on land in Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka counties, with the affected area ranging up to 197,000 acres. It would include infrastructure, roads, power lines for electricity transmission, substations, maintenance facilities and a battery storage facility.
The BLM’s draft EIS includes five alternatives, including the “no action” option to deny approval. The BLM has identified two “preferred” alternatives, one that calls for a maximum of 378 turbines on a project area of 146,000 acres and another that calls for a maximum of 269 turbines on a project area of about 122,000 acres. The turbines would reach a maximum height of 740 feet.
Magic Valley Energy’s “proposed action” would build up to 400 turbines in corridors, with the total project area spanning slightly more than 197,000 acres. The corridors would cover approximately 84,000 acres, mostly on BLM land but also reaching into state and private lands.
The fourth alternative to permit the project would allow up to 280 turbines on an area of about 110,000 acres.
Opposition to the project has already come from some of Idaho’s elected officials. On Feb. 6, Gov. Brad Little and Lt. Gov. Scott Bedke joined three of Idaho’s four representatives in Washington, D.C.—Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson—in issuing a letter expressing several significant concerns about the project to the Idaho office of the BLM. Members of the Idaho Legislature have also expressed concerns or opposition.
The BLM will accept public comments on the draft EIS through April 20.
Public comments can be submitted: through the BLM’s ePlanning project site at bit.ly/3uu3BuV; by email to BLM_ID_LavaRidge@blm.gov; or by hand or U.S. Mail enclosed in an envelope labeled “Lava Ridge Wind Project EIS” to Kasey Prestwich, Project Manager, BLM Shoshone Field Office, 400 West F St., Shoshone, ID 83352.
The draft EIS can be viewed through the ePlanning project site. ￼
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I'm all for the Lava Ridge project. Idaho imports 33% of its electrical power as it is. Like others have said, ranchers and farmers already use our public lands and water to profit selling to out of state customers. Idaho's politicians have come out against Lava Ridge, but they are bought and paid for by oil and gas tycoons. The idea that "only government regulations stand in the way of nuclear" is pretty questionable at a time when we can't seem to have the unregulated private sector run a freight train (Norfolk Southern) or bank (SVB) without government regulation.
No one could have restated the mass media position on this better. Perhaps it's time for you to do some research on Lava Ridge, and on nuclear energy, to educate yourself so you can add more substance than parroting back what you read in the papers.
Aside from the inherent risks associated with nuclear power, as recited by Badger, there’s also this:
“Two and a half tonnes of uranium have gone missing from a site in Libya, the UN's nuclear watchdog has said.”
As far as educating “yourself “ about nuclear, what specifically is your scientific background?
His background gives no credence toward the historical record of the use (and abuse) of nuclear energy but is rather a regurgitation of the commercial selling points of a powerful pro-nuclear industrial lobby in Washington DC (and Paris, France).
Here’s a challenge for you and the anti-nukes. Find a model for global warming mitigation that does not have nuclear energy as one of the two primary methods. or, alternatively, you could just say that global warming is a hoax.
Lot of solar
lots of geo-thermal
lots of hydro
lots of wind
lots of tidal generation
"Nuclear power has both direct and indirect health impacts. The main clinical concerns of exposure to radiation are acute radiation syndrome (radiation sickness) and an increased risk of developing cancer." EPA
Who tells the reporter not to mention this power would all go to CA?
(There are no contracts; sales are pending.)
I am no champion of this project. Yet is it so different than using Idaho`s public lands to grow sheep and beef, to sell to California? Or cut our timber to sell out of state. Or use our water to grow spuds , to export? Selling out of state elk tags? For that matter we pimp out Bald Mtn. (public lands) to out of staters to line the pockets of an out of state oil Co. And now we will forsake the East Fork, of the South Fork of the Salmon River to foreign miners for a bit of gold. Our public lands. And no one will say boo. What is the alternative to wind energy?
Nuclear power is clean, safe, takes much less space, does not kill birds like turbines do and is reliable. Only government regulations (permitting process) stands in the way, by making the whole project take many years.
Good points--it's like you read the Magic Valley website justifying this project.
But maybe instead of doubling up on bad public land use we could move in the other direction?
Funny fact on Baldy. If you are local and you by a season pass, you pay LOT tax on that. If you are a tourist and you ski Baldy on an IKON, you pay zero LOT tax. Sun Valley Co has perfected getting the locals to subsidize the tourists.
As Ms Browning notes, nuclear works. It takes up 1/200th of the footprint. In the 1970s you could build a nuke in 4 years. Today, despite no one in the US ever dying of nuclear power plant radiation (and only 51 people in the world) and new technology being even safer, it takes 14 years to build a nuclear power plant. The NRC just published new regs that are 2x as long as the old regs. The government does not seem to be serious about global warming.
Nuclear power is not renewable, it takes plutonium
Nuclear energy is not clean, the highly toxic waste needs to be stored (and leaked) forever.
Nuclear energy is not safe, 40 of the 57 plants in the US have leaked low-grade radioactive waste, as Xcel Energy`s station did recently.
Nuclear energy is a cop out to our failure to address climate change.
Nuclear energy is not an alternative.
Badger, these turbines are 720 ft tall….nothing has ever been built this height. Will it work on the lava of southern Idaho? All the power generated will go to NV and CA, nothing for Idaho. Lots of unanswered questions…
From the Sierra Club:
“Estimates of up to a million or more birds a year are killed by turbines in the US but that is far exceeded by collisions with communications towers (6.5 million); power lines, (25 million); windows (up to 1 billion); and cats (1.3 to 4.0 billion) and those lost due to habitat loss, pollution and climate change.”
From the UN Climate Change Report this week:
“ The world is likely to pass a dangerous temperature threshold within the next 10 years, pushing the planet past the point of catastrophic warming — unless nations drastically transform their economies and immediately transition away from fossil fuels, according to one of the most definitive reports ever published about climate change.”
I’m of the opinion that there is no time to waste. If the clean energy is going to reduce greenhouse gases in the regions of the highest emissions, where the highest population densities are, that’s a good thing.
Badger is correct on the risks of nuclear, which is highly subsidized by taxpayers.
House Cats are a problem and the owners don’t think anything of throwing their pets kills into the trash. Put a bell on your cat!!
HPB, See Badger's two comments below. Furthermore, this project would occupy mainly BLM land. "The Bureau of Land Management's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." Your commentsare irrelevant.
Badger must be flattered by how you ape his opinions, adding no substance yourself.
Why argue? The last I heard Blaine County had declared itself nuclear free.
HPB, I added the BLM mission statement for your benefit, as it is obvious from your comments about selling energy outside of ID that you do not understand much about public lands.
HPB, wrong. Cite your reference.
Welcome to the discussion.