A local energy company plans to appeal a ruling after the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Committee rejected its plans for a wind farm.
Western Energy, of Firth, proposed to build 66 turbines on a private ranch east of Shelley, but a tied vote won’t let that happen.
The Planning and Zoning Committee voted 4 to 4, which automatically means they had to deny the special use permit.
So, Western Energy has 10 days from now to appeal the decision, and they said they sure will.
A few folks on the committee were concerned about how close the project would be to other people’s property.
But, other committee members said they weren’t convinced it would be any more destructive than housing developments.
Matt Thompson’s family owns the ranch that the company wants to put their turbines on.
He said he’s very disappointed in the decision.
There have been anemometers testing the wind on the ranch since about 2002, and he said they’ve proven that their ranch is a great place to put the turbines.
Thompson believes the windmills will keep his family’s land alive.
“It’s not pristine land, it’s working ranch land, and these windmills would allow it to stay in our family and keep up in the ranching business,” explained Thompson.
Thompson believes a lot of the emotion from the Ridgeline Energy project has transferred to theirs. But, he’s still confident in the commissioners and believes this project will happen.
Thompson said this project would provide many jobs and bring in a lot of tax money to Bingham County.
June 26, 2008
By Danielle Grant
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