A special use permit has already been approved in Bingham County for a Seattle-based company to build 150 wind turbines in the Wolverine Canyon area.
But that decision is not going over well with dozens of people who own land in the area, and they filed an appeal with the Bingham County Commissioners.
After hours of looking into all the facts, commissioners felt they needed more information before making their final decision. But not everyone in attendance was against the new wind farm.
Even though some people may not like the look of windmills, they like the idea of another source of income.
Sherry Day, allowing windmills on her property: “I’m for windmills. I think they’re ugly, but for ranchers, they are a necessary evil because the cost of ranching is so high.”
The Days, along with a handful of other ranchers, have entered into contracts with Ridgeline, allowing them to install wind turbines on their property.
Sherry Day, allowing windmills on her property: “The amount of revenue that’s produced from each windmill will help the rancher to defray the cost.”
But not everyone agrees. With more then 30 people included in the appeal, many say they would like to see the Wolverine area stay the way it is, a beautiful place for recreation.
Louis Morales, spearheaded appeal: “We feel that the windmills are going to affect the scenery. It’s gonna affect the way things are done historically. It’s a recreational area and should be left as recreational area.”
In front of a packed courtroom, Bingham County Commissioners talked about the appeal and if all necessary steps were taken to notify people of the public hearing.
Louis Morales, spearheaded appeal: “Their responsibility is to make sure that the planning and zoning board did their job appropriately and legally.”
The commissioners commented on the environmental studies conducted by Ridgeline, saying they have done a good job looking into all the elements.
Rich Rayhill, Vice-President, Ridgeline Energy: “We hope to continue to show that we are a good neighbor and that we will develop responsibly.”
Ridgeline says they are hoping into keeping the energy generated by the windmills right here in Eastern Idaho.
Rich Rayhill, Vice-President, Ridgeline Energy: “The people we are negotiating with right now are Rocky Mountain Power, and they’re a local utility.”
Commissioners say there are still some gray areas as far as if the advertising for the public hearing was sufficient. They moved to hold another public meeting to continue their discussion.
It will be held on November 13th at 10:00 in the commissioners chambers at the Bingham County Courthouse.
Reporter: Kristi Henderson
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