August 10, 2011

Pioneertown locals fight potential wind farm 9 August 2011

Leaders in our Valley are looking toward clean energy jobs to get people back to work – that means more solar and wind power.

However, just up Highway 62, a group is fighting a potential wind farm in Pioneertown. That’s where Portland-based Element Power is already leasing 4,030 acres from the Bureau of Land Management for green-energy production.

The proposed project is still very early in the testing phase – for now the company is only allowed to place four 60-meter tall meteorological testing towers to check the wind viability in the area but local residents are already furious about the project.

Pioneertown local Elyzabeth Turvey built her home overlooking the mesas surrounding the tourist destination.

“It’s peaceful, it’s beautiful, the stars at night are clear and the shooting stars are amazing – and the views,” Turvey said. The meteorological towers have her worried about the development of the land.

“With that, it means roads and fencing and everything else involved with it,” Turvery said. “I do not want it to look like Desert Hot Springs.”

The project manager from Element Power, Jackie Kossman, says the project still has about two years of testing before the company will decide whether building a farm in the area is worth the investment. Then, it is up to the Bureau of Land Management to approve any projects. While the BLM is allowing Element Power to test the site, any project proposal will be accompanied by environmental reports and public comment.

“People have ample opportunity – well, maybe not ample, but they certainly have an opportunity to contribute their voices to this project,” said Mickey Quillman, of the Barstow Field Office.

Quillman says he has been inundated with emails about the project. He encourages locals to get involved in the public process.

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