Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Oregon
It's beyond dispute that, were dozens of turbines built here, Baker County's appearance would be changed dramatically. This is no minor matter in a county where tourism is an important industry. And many of our visitors are attracted by our mountains, canyons and other picturesque scenery that is largely devoid of towers and other man-made distractions.
The growing number of wind farms has led to more complaints about their health effects, said Sujata Joshi, an epidemiologist in the environmental public health office. Health concerns raised to date focus on noise and vibration generated by the huge turbines. The assessment will start with the listening sessions.
The answer is that electricity generated on Steens is destined for Southern California. Oregonians stand to see one of their most beautiful wilderness areas spoiled so Californians can keep their air conditioners on high. Why not send the current overload to California? Why not build the turbines there?
Released last week, the draft study was prepared by Entrix Environmental Solutions for the Bureau of Land Management. The document says the proposed wind turbines and power lines would be visible from less than one-half of 1 percent of the 170,000-acre Steens Wilderness. Columbia Energy Partners hopes to erect wind turbines on or near the mountain in four projects each generating about 104 megawatts.
Ten years ago Congress protected Steens Mountain to, in essence, keep it the way it is. In collaboration with ranchers and conservationists, Oregon's congressional delegation teamed up with then Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and then-Gov. John Kitzhaber to secure passage of the Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Act of 2000 ...wind developers have recently enticed some private landowners on Steens who will profit by the new "green gold rush".
Hood River County's more radical environmentalists have joined the battle against county commissioners' attempt to emplace a 9-megawatt wind farm on a forest-zoned, wildlife-rich ridgetip near residents' homes. A citizens' petition for a ballot initiative on the issue is receiving wide circulation. The battle between ecologists and energy-crisis exploiters in bucolic Hood River County, Oregon, peaks.
A couple of weeks ago, Oregon's two senators and Congressman Greg Walden were happy to announce they had overcome the objections of the Air Force to the construction of a huge windfarm in north-central Oregon. The news report on their announcement showed why this may turn out to be a mixed blessing: "Plans call for building 338 wind turbines on 32,000 acres in remote areas of Gilliam and Morrow counties."
If not a free pass, wind power still gets a fairly strong presumption of social benefit. As the U.S and the world seek ways to produce more electricity without putting more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, wind turbines have acquired a popular reputation as a low-impact, high-tech replacement for older power plants. Reality is a good deal more complicated.
Some downright vituperative comment on the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm highlighted a meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners last Tuesday. Telocaset resident Rod Swanson, long disgruntled over the presence of Elkhorn Valley Wind Farm turbines near his home, unleashed a loud, obscenity-laced tirade at the three-member board.
And now a wind farm in the scenic hills near the small town of Union, southeast of La Grande, is up for approvals. ...It's late in the day. We need to get a handle now on how wind power adds up -- not just in megawatts but in how much it will change Oregon's views. Otherwise, in this state where we once insisted things look different, we just might not like the way things look.
Ruggedly beautiful Steens Mountain stands in an area of southeast Oregon so isolated that it's barely changed since cattle king Pete French arrived in the late 1800s. Coyotes yelp at sundown. Drivers are so few that they wave to each other as they pass. Campers, hunters and bird-watchers trek from across the state to breathe in the majestic emptiness and to gaze from the Steens summit across a seemingly endless tapestry of high desert and open range. But soon, the scenery will change. Harney County has cleared Columbia Energy Partners of Vancouver to build a wind farm on the mountain's north slope.
Most of us agree that the pursuit of renewable energy sources is a necessity. We may not agree on the justification, but in the end we agree a need exists. This recognized need has resulted in a rush to build renewable energy sources without adequate regard for visual and cultural resources. Are we once again making decisions that we will regret in the future? Of particular concern is the impact of large-scale wind farms and solar fields. ...Are we repeating the errors of the past by destroying nearly pristine landscapes and historic sites with a new form of pollution?
The Oregon Trail is in the way of a gold rush that will demolish part of our history and leave us poorer. The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, now operating under the new moniker Oregon Business, was commanded by statute to promote the Oregon Trail as a major tourist attraction consistent with maintaining the historical integrity of the Oregon Trail. ...The gold rush that threatens the Oregon Trail is "free" and "green" energy from the wind. If only it were so.
The final of three meetings on the highly-controversial issue of wind turbines in the foothills of the Blue Mountains takes place Thursday before the Umatilla County Planning Commission. We've said it before and we'll say it again: The commission should recognize there is a "significant resource" in our Blue Mountains and its foothills. Frankly, we don't see how the commission members could decide otherwise.
Environmental groups in Oregon have united to oppose the construction of new wind farms in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. One county is listening to their concerns. Umatilla County Planning Commission members intend to hear an amendment to the community's Comprehensive Plan that could ban future wind power developments from certain areas.
A proposal to disallow wind turbines in the Blue Mountain foothills continues Thursday night before the Umatilla County Planning Commission in the Pendleton Convention Center. Milton-Freewater-area resident Richard Jolly first made his proposal to the nine-member commission at a June 25 meeting, asking for a Goal 5 amendment to set aside a section of land east of Highway 11 as a viewshed to be protected for its aesthetic, natural resource and wildlife values.
To continue developing east of Milton-Freewater ...is putting too much of a burden on one area of the county and the state. Make no mistake in identifying these 300- to 550-foot tall structures - they are industrial energy facilities - and the Umatilla County Planning Commissioners are now charged with sifting through the facts to determine whether this is the right decision to make for the majority of the people they serve.
The Umatilla Planning Commission is considering a proposal to keep wind turbines out of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The "No Turbine Zone" would amend the county's plan. Proponents say it was a result of secrecy about plans for the developments.
Successive generations of children growing up in Eastern Oregon may never know we were once surrounded by an expansive and majestic landscape devoid of wind turbines. Already the foothills that display a beauty all their own are becoming something of an anomaly. Wind turbines - and the necessity of high-voltage power lines to access the energy they produce - are the most recent threat to our Blue Mountains.
Rows of tall turbines have already remade the landscape on wheat farms and ridgelines on private land around the region. But so far there have been no wind farms built on public land in the Northwest. That's about to change. In 2006 the BLM received six right-of-way applications for wind testing in Oregon and Washington. The number last year was four times that -- 24. Wind farms in relatively untrammeled public lands present a number of potential problems while pitting two environmental concerns ...against each other.