The Board of Supervisors has a duty to secure the best deal for the future of Shasta County in requiring the Hatchet Mountain wind project to serve us, not just in its appealing revenue potentials, but just as importantly, in compatibility with our world-renowned scenic, mountain-beautified endowments.
They owe it not only to their eastern Shasta County constituents, but to their countywide constituents and our state and worldwide admirers, tourists, and customers, past and future, to require that the entrepreneurs awarded the valuable use of our county’s Burney siting for their lucrative wind power-generation enterprise adhere to reasonable site location standards that do not needlessly inflict permanent damage on all concerned. When Theodore Roosevelt came to Burney and declared Burney Falls “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” he put all of us on notice that there are beauties here not to be trampled for some transitory economic expediency. But now, nothing less than the natural beauty of the Burney Basin and its awesome mountainscapes, heretofore enjoyed by all, has been proposed for a quick economic sacrifice.
The highly profitable responsibility of using this place as a power resource risks misuse with seemingly endless waves of white, permanently visible machines of gargantuan height that could, if badly placed, redefine the glacially formed skyline. A once-beautiful snow and tree haven of purity, ringing a timeless village, will soon be transformed into an industry-scarred maelstrom of urban pollution, unless our representatives act to prevent this.
Some of the competing companies that originally vied for this lucrative wind site, and its decades of privileges, may well be able to offer more appropriate wind generator placement accommodations to our county’s heritage and our community’s values than the currently appointed operators will. The businesses just recently awarded this bonanza have already become head-swollen with some newfound assumption of ownership of our moutainscape.
They now say that conserving our rare mountain scenery is not something they wish to do. They have arrogantly informed a very startled and interested public that their convenience shall now dictate their choice of a Burney Basin-intruding presence, which will forever blemish the views visible from many miles away here. There are, they admit, other effective nearby sites, slightly removed from their chosen one, that will not so intrude upon or visually befoul our community. They admit that these sites are usable instead of the ones that will harm us forever. But they will not.
It is therefore incumbent on Shasta County residents to write their supervisors and attend the soon to be announced public meeting to avoid memorializing hasty decision-making with a visual blight that will offend and aggrieve generations of lovers of our scenic wonders and of natural conservation. It is imperative that the supervisors redefine the project parameters consistent with the irreplaceable treasures and natural setting of Shasta County being respected and preserved. They must redefine for the appropriate operator our requirements to serve us for using our community and its resources, rather than letting them redefine us and requiring our eternal service only of them. Our county must reject any or all unworthy suitors.
If the supervisors stand up to their public charge, and historic obligation, they will be thanked every time each one of us, who live here or come here, faces the west and partakes of the scenic heritage they should and must continue to allow for us all.
Marvan Hogan lives in Burney.
5 May 2008
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