The endangered golden eagle has grounded the first wind farm in Wasco County, and is throwing another in Gilliam County into doubt.
Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended that the Oregon Department of Energy allow wind turbines no closer than 6 miles to a golden eagle nest. The letter concerned the Summit Ridge wind farm in Wasco County, being developed by LotusWorks of Vancouver, Wash.
Studies detected federally protected gold eagles, as well as bald eagles, in the area, and asked LotusWorks to prepare a protection plan for the species.
The letter prompted Portland General Electric to back off its push to buy development rights for a massive new wind farm near Arlington in Gilliam County.
The utility withdrew a request to regulators to waive normal competitive bidding requirements that apply to acquisition of new power plants. PGE originally said it needed to act fast to secure rights to one of the dwindling number of good development sites on the mid Columbia.
The utility said Wednesday that Rock Creek could still prove a feasible project, but it was no longer necessary to step outside the normal process on a project that could be affected by similar wildlife concerns.
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