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Residents defeat wind project

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – The residents of Sand Canyon have been fighting a wind project for over a year. On Friday, residents got word the project has been pulled. Now, residents are calling it an early Christmas present.

“I was just like, ‘It’s a Merry Christmas,'” said resident Beverly Billingsley. “I was just bouncing off the walls. I was really, really happy.”

Billingsley wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

“Ecstatic, elation, do the happy dance,” said Shelly Young when asked about the moment she found out the project was pulled. “This is the best Christmas I’ve ever had. I cried. I literally cried. My husband is standing there (staring at me), but yes, we are totally elated by this.”

A year full of campaigns, advertisements, meetings and websites has finally paid off for Sand Canyon residents.

“Power to the people,” said Young. “We won. The people spoke up, (and) the town of Tehachapi and the county, they heard us.”

The project, proposed by Helo Energy, LLC, would have added up to 17 wind turbines on about 300 acres in the canyon.

“We were fighting for our views (and) for our property values,” said resident Bob Biggs.

In a statement, Supervisor Zack Scrivner said: “It is my opinion that Helo Energy’s proposed wind turbines in Sand Canyon raised issues about access to Sand Canyon, safety, and create a visual barrier. All these concerns would have fundamentally changed the existing community and environment. I am pleased that Helo Energy has made the decision to formally withdraw the proposed re-zoning application for the Sand Canyon wind project.”

Residents said the withdrawal has brought them peace of mind.

“I’m sleeping so well these days because I don’t have to worry about it,” said Billingsley.

Calls and emails to Helo Energy about why the project was pulled went unreturned on Monday.