Idaho Officials Object to Lava Ridge Wind Farm Decision by Biden’s BLM

Image courtesy of Friends of Minidoka.
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BOISE, Idaho – In a recent press release, three of Idaho’s Congressional delegation, Sen. Mike Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch, and Rep. Mike Simpson joined Governor Brad Little and Lt. Governor Scott Bedke in response to the news that the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a final environmental impact statement on June 6 approving the Lava Ridge Wind Project in south-central Idaho after strong public opposition.

“The Federal Government should stop ignoring Idahoans on Lava Ridge,” Crapo said. “Countless Idahoans have spoken out and continue to speak out against the Lava Ridge Wind Project as they know what is best for their land and livelihoods. This decision by the BLM shows the utmost disdain for the people most affected by this obtrusive and unwanted wind project. I will continue to fight with the people of Idaho in opposition to this project.”

“Idahoans could not be more clear that they do not support Lava Ridge. Yet, for some reason, the BLM continues to push forward this project that no one in Idaho wants. This is not over – I will continue to fight this unnecessary and ill begotten project,” Risch said.

“This final Environment Impact Statement is a slap in the face to Idahoans. Despite widespread opposition at the local, state, and federal levels, the Bureau of Land Management is continuing to recklessly move forward with the Lava Ridge Project. From the start, I have made it clear that I expect the BLM to listen to and incorporate the concerns of those directly affected by the project. I authored language – passed by Congress and signed into law by the President – directing the Department of the Interior to reengage and seek feedback from the stakeholders on alternative plans before moving forward with Lava Ridge. The Department failed to meet the language requirements of that law. The Lava Ridge Project is out-of-touch and has absolutely no place in the Magic Valley. I will continue fighting to ensure that Idahoans’ voices are heard,” Simpson said.

“This is the latest example of the Biden Administration’s unsound energy agenda. The BLM is determined to give California electricity from Idaho despite overwhelming opposition from Idahoans and contrary to formal actions by Idaho’s county, state, and federal elected officials, including federal legislation and federal law. I do not agree with BLM’s conclusion that the effects of this extraordinarily complex proposal are ‘not significant.’ It may not matter in Washington, DC, but it matters to those of us who live here,” Little said.

“Our public lands have long been utilized for multiple uses that meet the needs and fulfill the benefits of Idahoans. Ranching, farming, and recreation are a major part of the Magic Valley’s heritage. While domestic energy production is an emerging part of a necessary conversation, the BLM disregarded Idahoans’ input on a project that is in our backyard and, instead, favored Californians energy needs. Simply put, California will reap the benefits and Idaho will get all the negative impacts. We will know California is serious about green energy when we see wind turbines in Hollywood’s hills,” Bedke said.

Meanwhile, Idaho Attorney General Raúl Labrador issued his own press release on June 7 in which he announced an administrative appeal to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The appeal asks the agency to reconsider its determinations that “the Lava Ridge project, a proposed wind turbine development on Bureau of Land Management property in Idaho’s Magic Valley, poses ‘no hazard’ to aviation in the area. The vast majority of any power generated at Lava Ridge would be sent to California, and the project would place hundreds of wind turbines on federal lands adjacent to irrigated farms and local airports. The wind turbines would be among the tallest, if not the tallest, in the United States, and pose an obvious hazard to local aircraft and airports, and especially to agricultural aviation operations (commonly called crop dusting).”

“Strong words are just not enough,” said 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.”

Labrador’s filing stated, “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.”

This is an ongoing story that poses critical implications for all Idahoans. Readers can learn more by going to