Ninety-eight wind energy turbines have just been approved for the top of the Cotterel Mountains.
This makes for the largest wind energy project on federal land in the last 25 years. Both the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management announced they approved the plans.
Getting the wind-energy project under way in Cassia County has been anything but a walk in the park. In fact it’s been more like a five-year effort. It began with a collection of data, identifying issues, analyzing them – all of this done to see what might be referred to as the pros out-weighing the cons. The BLM says a wind-energy project is worth it, but why don’t you judge for yourself.
Picture this – The Cotterel Mountains in Cassia County covered with 98 windmills. Can you stand to bear the sight? A lot of people in the area might say yes; others are apt to say no.
We’ll begin with the bad news and work our way up to the good. Besides a block to the view, some folks are concerned these turbines might affect wildlife and access to the mountain for hunting and fishing. Issues have also been raised with the local tribes and the resources they use. The BLM has researched these concerns and found they are not as important as the benefits.
Ken Miller, BLM office manager, says, “There are negative impacts but in general the analysis suggests that the impacts of Cotterel Mountain pretty nice piece of land is appropriate for wind energy.”
Scott Barker, wind-energy project manager, says, “This would be a significant source of renewable energy for the northwest area in general.”
Let’s run with that idea for a minute. Ninety-eight windmills over the Cotterel Mountains will produce about 200 megawatts in electricity. In other words, about 50,000 homes will be serviced, which of course means more money will be raked in.
“Substantial economic impacts to Cassia County property tax, sales tax increases, employee benefits,” Barker says.
So do the pros outweigh the cons? You make the call.
The BLM seems to think so and Local News 8 found people around town also agree. Local News 8 spoke with many men and women in the surrounding area of where the wind mills will be built, none of which would go on camera, but they didn’t have a problem with wind-energy construction either.
The Cotterel wind-power project is in the hands of the Windlin Corporation, but the BLM says they expect construction of the project to begin next year.
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