In 2010, Columbia Energy Partners of Vancouver intended to build wind turbine farms on Oregon’s Steen Mountain. When Columbia Energy Partners learned that the Audubon and Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) were organizing to assert jurisdiction over their project, Columbia Energy Partners withdrew its permit. Many feel that this was a big victory for the Steen Mountain wildlife. It is my hope that the ONDA and Audubon are always successful in ensuring that any future wind turbine projects are held to the highest standards to protect Oregon wildlife, wildlife habitat and our natural resources.
I believe another important issue that must be considered when allowing companies to build “green” wind turbine farms in Oregon, should be the source of the rare earths used in the manufacture of those wind turbines. Rare earths come mostly from China and from some of the most environmentally damaging or “dirty” mines there, which are dominated by criminal gangs. Since wind turbines are predicted to be the largest use of rare earths in the future, it is my hope that Oregon will care, not just for our regional environment, but the global environment as well when permits for “green” technology are issued in our state.
Alexandra J. Gritta, Age 15
Lincoln High School, Freshman
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