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Ferndale opposes wind turbine project transportation plan  

Credit:  Megan Hansen/Times-Standard, www.times-standard.com 7 January 2012 ~~

The Ferndale City Council didn’t completely oppose the Shell Wind Bear River Wind Turbine Project during its meeting Thursday night but voted to send two letters to Humboldt County expressing its concerns.

Ferndale Mayor Jeff Farley said Friday that the council voted unanimously to send a letter to the county – which ultimately has final say about the project – asking it to reevaluate the project’s scope. In addition, he said the council voted unanimously to send another letter to the county opposing the use of Ferndale city streets for the transport of turbine components – a major traffic concern for some city residents.

Farley said the council opted not to completely oppose the project because it’s still waiting to see the contents of the environmental impact report.

”We said, ‘no we’re not going to do that’ because the EIR isn’t out yet and we want more information,” Farley said, adding that the report is expected to be published sometime this spring.

Shell WindEnergy Inc. has proposed building a 25-unit wind turbine farm along Bear River Ridge about six miles south of Ferndale.

Council members are asking the county to seek updated comments from various agencies on the project, believing the January 2010 scoping document is outdated.

The council is asking the county to take a closer look at the traffic and noise impacts of the project, analyze construction-related air quality impacts, evaluate the cost of decommissioning the farm,
look at the effect the project will have on Ferndale property values and more.

Farley said the council is asking the county to reexamine the project because Ferndale has yet to receive specific answers to its questions, including how the city will be impacted by large trucks delivering equipment to the project site.

”At this point, we’re not getting the answers as fast as we want,” Farley said, adding that this “isn’t (Shell WindEnergy Inc.’s) first rodeo for wind turbines.”

In a statement Friday from Pana Ratana, business development advisor for Shell WindEnergy Inc., the company said it understands the community’s concerns and the council’s desire to have more information. Ratana said it’s too early for the council to take a position opposing any of the project’s components.

”We are disappointed that the city of Ferndale has decided to take any position on the transportation plan at this time. The city council is making a premature decision based largely on incomplete information,” Ratana said in a statement. “We will continue with our plans to host an open house in the spring to provide the latest information and updates.”

Source:  Megan Hansen/Times-Standard, www.times-standard.com 7 January 2012

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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