Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little, Lt. Governor Scott Bedke, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, U.S. Senator Jim Risch, and Congressman Mike Simpson jointly communicated deep concerns to Idaho’s head of the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) about the Lava Ridge wind farm proposed in south-central Idaho.
In a letter to Karen Kelleher, Idaho State Director for the BLM, the Idaho elected officials reiterated the lack of community support for the project.
“Idahoans cherish the concept of multiple and mixed uses on their public lands. This requires conservation, predictability of use and, most importantly, support from the local communities. These deep-rooted values are compromised by a piecemeal approach to large-scale generation projects on public lands. Dedicating hundreds of square miles of public lands to a specific use will have a long-term effect on recreation, grazing, sporting uses and the land in general,” they said.
Last month, the BLM proposed two preferred alternatives as part of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The public comment period is open until March 21, 2023, and Idahoans can obtain more information here: https://www.blm.gov/get-involved/resource-advisory-council/near-you/idaho/lava-ridge-subcommittee.
“Affected farmers, ranchers, tribes, the Japanese American community, and sportsmen have voiced legitimate objections. As it stands today, the local community predominantly has not shown support for this development,” they continued.
The Idaho leaders also pointed to concerns that the project compromises fire suppression and sage-grouse habitat and potentially could impact existing electricity customers and the integrated resource plans of Idaho utilities. They said project construction could damage transportation infrastructure and may impact the availability of labor and construction materials for other projects in the area.
“We urge the BLM to reassess and refocus the process on working with the local communities to address the concerns outlined above,” they wrote. “If all of these concerns are not addressed, it is unlikely we will be able to support this project moving forward.”