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Sand Canyon wind project may be dead  

Credit:  By Ed Gordon, Staff Writer, Tehachapi News, www.tehachapinews.com 4 October 2011 ~~

It was good news for Friends of Sand Canyon Saturday afternoon as about 40 people gathered for a meeting of the organization that has been protesting planned wind development in the area.

President Beverly Billingsley reported to the group that the planning for the Helo project had been suspended.

“I spoke with Kern County planning yesterday and the project has been suspended by Helo,” she said. “They said ‘stop everything, don’t spend any of our money for the EIR, we’re going to rethink this’ and that’s what they’re doing.”

On Monday morning, Chris Mynk of Kern County planning confirmed the information.

“The project is in suspension and we are currently not processing it,” he said. Attempts to reach Helo for comment were unsuccessful, as their phone number provided to the Tehachapi News by Director Richard Redoglia has been disconnected.

Billingsley said it’s not clear what the company will do.

“They could totally pull out or they could [change their proposal].

Instead of having the 500 foot turbines they [might] turn around and say, OK, we’re going to put in twice as many 200 foot turbines. Right now they’re focusing on the 90 acres by the gun club.”

Bob Biggs, vice president of the group, reported on a letter from Lorelei Oviatt, Director of the Kern County Planning and Community Development.

“I will not be able to support any proposed discretionary action that would include the addition of the Wind Energy Combining Zone District to property north of Highway 58, east of Sand Canyon Road with in the Sand Canyon Specific Plan boundaries,” Oviatt wrote.

Biggs said, “She is advising against any wind turbines in the floor of the canyon, 320 acres or so east of the road. The supervisors could still vote her down, but they rarely go against her. That’s a good sign.

We’re making headway here; there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Director George Young reported that members of Friends of Sand Canyon have had several conversations with planners and Supervisor Zack Scrivner.

“One of the things they suggested is that we get is some real serious petition drives going,” Young said, “At least for the next couple of months we would really like to push some type of petition drive including getting in front of Save Mart, Albertsons, and Kmart.”

Penny Melko brought up the idea of also getting a petition in place relating to the noise from the turbines. It was agreed that she should put together a petition on this for the group’s next meeting.

“The boundary thing has ping ponged all over the place,” Billingsley said. “There’s a map floating out there that says this is where we don’t want turbines. You can’t step over this boundary.”

Young then again requested everyone write a letter to the supervisors with their concerns about the project.

In closing of the meeting Biggs reminded members about the fundraiser for the group set for Oct. 22 at Pacino’s Restaurant. It’s an all day event with prizes, including a 42-inch flat screen TV.

Source:  By Ed Gordon, Staff Writer, Tehachapi News, www.tehachapinews.com 4 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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