It’s an easy sport for politicians to complain about Washington D.C. After all, D.C. is where so many ill-advised ideas are dreamt up and put into federal law, regulation, or judicial opinion. It’s much more difficult to find examples of federal overreach that everyone can agree on. The Lava Ridge Wind Project, however, is one such example.
Out-of-state financiers and federal regulators plan to move forward with the construction of a massive wind turbine farm. If approved by federal regulators, the Lava Ridge Wind Project will place 400 turbines across 75,000 acres of public land. At full capacity, the Lava Ridge Wind Project would be one of the largest wind farms in the United States—dwarfing nearly all other comparable projects.
The project is being pushed by a New York-based company. Their view is to use Idaho’s lands and natural resources for the benefit of consumers in far-off Malibu or San Francisco, California. That’s right: current Idaho industries that use these public lands — including dairymen, ranchers, farmers, and sportsmen — will have their productive economic activities pushed aside so the 1% can continue living in the California lifestyle, while claiming to be climate change “neutral.”
But the Lava Ridge Wind Project is anything but “neutral.” Pushed forward on a rapid time frame because of an executive order then-President Obama signed, the Lava Ridge Wind Project will reshape the Magic Valley and impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of hardworking Idaho families.
The construction, installation, and ongoing maintenance of the project’s wind turbines will have negative consequences for: the aquifer and groundwater; the sanctity of the Minidoka National Historic Monument; the ability of hotshots and wild land firefighters to suppress wildfires; local roads, bridges, and highways that will see heavy truck traffic but little to no money to repair foreseen damages; biodiversity, migrating birds, and big game species that will be harmed or forced to relocate; local schools and the Magic Valley housing market that will see a sudden influx of out-of-state laborers, many of them without lawful status to work in the U.S.
Worst of all? Magic Valley Residents will endure all of these changes, but citizens of Idaho won’t reap a single benefit: any and all power generated from the project will be sent out-of-state, most likely to the higher utility fee payers in California.
Our people, our lands, and our economy are disrupted so a bunch of folks in Silicon Valley can satisfy the demands of their own silly green energy requirements. No thank you.
Magic Valley residents should applaud the efforts of Idaho Republicans — including our governor and members of our federal delegation and State Legislature — who have raised questions about this project and expressed serious concerns about its impact on the Idaho way of life.
But you must do your part, as well. File a comment with the Bureau of Land Management and the federal government and let them know that Idaho’s land and resources should be for the people of Idaho. This issue can bring all of us — from environmentalists to ranchers — together. Let’s unify to keep the federal government from harming our unique landscape and putting our people’s interests last. Let’s work together to put the Magic Valley and Idaho first.