One of the great benefits about living where we do is the open space and the importance we as ranchers put on the quality of life our culture provides not only for our families, but for society as well. Regarding the infringement of property rights expressed in the editorial letter of Feb. 23 (La Grande Observer), no one believes stronger in that right than we do. But when an industrial complex is allowed to devalue the land and lifestyle, that is when it is a detriment to the entire community and goes beyond the individuals right to do as they please – it is not “meddlesome land use.” Although this county somehow has allowed the zoning change, specifically for this wind industry, it definitely opposes the original intent of maintaining the landscape and our values, both economically and culturally.
Wind projects are not self-sustainable. If it were not for the monetary incentives coming from our federal, state and possibly county taxes again (Strategic Investment Program), this industry would never exist. As seventh-generation ranchers, we are proven stewards of our resources, and we can speak to passing on healthy and vital property. If the Antelope project is allowed, it will damage the land with erosion by the boulevards constructed, impairment of water quality with sediment loading, the invasive plants that such tremendous soil disturbance will allow, loss of open space and damage to the big game habitat, as the Elkhorn site has demonstrated.
This industrial complex, if allowed, will change our community forever, and the heritage that has been passed down through preceding generations will be lost. The Antelope wind project is not about preserving the family ranch, local jobs, or economic benefits. It is about a company, based in Lisbon, Portugal, taking millions of our dollars and depleting our quality of life forever.
Curtis W. Martin
V P Ranch
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