(Attorney General’s Office Press Release, April 21, 2023)
Boise, ID – On Thursday, April 20th, Attorney General Raúl Labrador sent a comment on the Draft EIS for the Lava Ridge Wind Project to the Bureau of Land Management.
Congress mandated the Bureau of Land Management to “protect the quality of scientific, scenic, historical, ecological, environmental, air and atmospheric, water resource, and archeological values.” The approval of this Project cannot be justified under the law. The agency’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) fails to account for the numerous harms the Project will cause. It represents a disregard for the environment and other vital interests entrusted to the agency’s safekeeping.
Furthermore, this Project is an assault on the sovereignty of the State of Idaho. “The federal government has once again acted on behalf of corporate interests instead of the people. The Lava Ridge Project will harm Idaho’s farmers, wildlife, and tribes. My office will work within the confines of the law to fight this project,” Attorney General Labrador said.
The Lava Ridge Wind Project is a proposed wind farm from Magic Valley Energy (MVE). The Project proposed would build 400 turbines across 75,000 acres of public land in Idaho. Once completed, Idaho would have the largest wind farm in the nation. If approved, Idahoans would bear numerous harms posed by the project so that MVE can sell the power generated to California. Even the draft proposal acknowledged the irreversible damage the Project would have on our state; such damage includes:
- Harm to wildlife: The Project would permanently alter or destroy the seasonal habitat of mule deer and pronghorn, killing many of them in the process. In addition to deer and pronghorn, other vulnerable species will be impacted. The presence of hundreds of sweeping blades slicing through the air will pulverize bat and bird species – animals needed to keep crop-eating insects at bay.
- Harm to hunters: The draft concludes that hunting opportunities will be “significantly diminished.” Shrinking hunting opportunities will have an impact on Idaho hunters and on tribal land and their reserved rights to hunt.
- Harm to waterways: The draft acknowledges the Project will have long-term impacts on Idaho’s wetlands and surface waters. The wind farm will “remove or alter wetlands, change their function, change the rate and quantity of runoff, compact soils, and alter flow patterns.” Additionally, the Project could inadvertently pollute Idaho’s water through accidental spills of hazardous materials.
- Harm to people: The Lava Ridge Wind Project will cause temporary housing, labor, and resource shortages. As federal money sweeps through the Magic Valley region, the risk of a boom-bust economic scenario is high.
Idahoans across the political spectrum oppose this Project. The Bureau of Land Management should listen to these dissenting voices instead of capitulating to the business interests of Magic Valley Energy.
The comment of the draft EIS for Lava Ridge Project can be found here.