(Congressman Simpson Press Release, April 4, 2023)

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, Chairman of the House Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, last week questioned Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning in a hearing on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget requests for the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service.

Chief among the questions Simpson asked Director Stone-Manning was related to the proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project on public lands in Magic Valley, Idaho, and if the pressure to increase renewable energy trumps the impacts to species and cultural sites.  Simpson, along with the Idaho Congressional Delegation, and Idaho Governor Brad Little and Lieutenant Governor Scott Bedke have continually raised concerns about this proposal and requested an extension of public comment period for the Lava Ridge Draft Environmental Impact Statement.



After raising questions related to the project’s effects on birds of prey and other avian populations including sage grouse, as well the project’s effects on livestock forage and active grazing permits, Simpson asked Director Stone-Manning for a rough timeline for a decision to be made on the large-scale wind and solar projects proposed on BLM land.

Director Stone-Manning: “At Lava Ridge, we are currently right in the middle of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.  We extended the comment period into April, as you know, and it depends on the amount of comments that we get and the substance of those comments, for how long it’s going to take us to really, properly incorporate them into our final, but I expect something by this fall or this winter.”

Simpson noted that the public hearings held by BLM in Twin Falls have been well-attended and appreciates BLM’s efforts to listen to the community’s objections and concerns about this project.

To watch the full exchange from the hearing, click here.



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