January 23, 2011

Wind farm project approved; residents unhappy

By ELIZABETH VARIN, Imperial Valley Press Staff Writer, www.ivpressonline.com 23 January 2011

The first wind project in the works for Imperial Valley took a step forward last week, though some residents were not happy with a county commission’s decision.

The Airport Land Use Commission found the Ocotillo Express wind project to be consistent with the county’s airport compatibility plan Wednesday, said commission chairman Larry Allen. It was a unanimous vote.

“Based on the information given to us and the information we obtained, it was not interfering with any air safety issues,” he said. “We don’t deal with whether it obstructs views or anything like that.”

The Ocotillo-area project is proposed to generate 550 megawatts of power by the end of 2012, said Glen Hodges, project manager with Pattern Energy, at a public scoping meeting earlier this month. It would include up to 193 wind turbines on mostly public lands.

At Wednesday’s meeting there was a good representation of Ocotillo residents and those with concerns about the project, Allen said. They gave good information, but it’s not something that the commission deals with.

“There were some issues that we allowed the people to discuss just so they could be heard because they came a long way and we appreciate that,” he said. “But regardless of our personal opinion … we have to put those aside and deal with the guidelines we have.”

Some residents, like Michael Cuff, wanted those issues to be taken into account before it gets to other commissions.

“It was obvious to me they weren’t concerned with the well-being of the residents of Ocotillo,” Cuff wrote in a statement about the meeting.

The project still has to go before the county Planning Commission, and the Bureau of Land Management has not finished with the environmental impact statement. No date has been set for either event.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2011/01/23/wind-farm-project-approved-residents-unhappy/