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County commission mulls wind farm issues  

Ridgeline Energy of Seattle was back in front of the Bingham County Planning and Zoning Commission Wednesday after a potential conflict of interest was cited.

However, no decision regarding the future of the controversial wind farm proposed in Bingham County had been reached at press time.

The energy company’s request for a special use permit was the last item on the agenda during the regular Planning and Zoning meeting.

Administrator Melodie Halstead said during an appeal hearing in June it was determined that Planning and Zoning Commissioner Larry Kohler owns property within 300 feet of the proposed wind farm in Wolverine Canyon, northeast of Blackfoot.

Bingham County Commissioners sent the project back to the commission to determine if Kohler’s property ownership constitutes a conflict of interest.

The original request for a conditional use permit, filed by the Seattle-based energy company last September, called for 300 wind turbines to be erected on 17,640 acres that would be leased from private landowners.

Halstead said Planning and Zoning approved half that many turbines and landowners in the Wolverine Canyon area appealed their decision. Ridgeline withdrew its application and refiled this year.

On April 23, after two nights of public comment, Planning and Zoning approved the request.

Idaho State Journal

24 July 2008

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