Opponents of the Tule Wind Project in San Diego’s East County are taking another shot at trying to stop one portion of the wind farm that will erect turbines along the ridgeline in the McCain Valley.
The Protect Our Communities Foundation (POC) filed a court documents Friday with the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals, claiming the federal government did not follow its own procedures when it OK’d the second phase of the Tule project.
Called Tule II, the second portion of the wind farm has been permitted to erect as many as 24 turbines with a capacity of 69 megawatts on 640 acres of land, some of which is owned by the state and some belonging to the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians.
POC has argued that the blades from turbines in both phases of the Tule project will pose significant danger to birds, golden eagles in particular.
But two months ago, POC lost a court challenge to Tule II when a U.S. District court judge ruled the Bureau of Indian Affairs came to a “carefully considered” decision and followed proper safeguards when it approved the project.
April Rose Sommer, executive director at POC, said the judge made a mistake.
“This project should not be built but at the very least it should be subject to the environmental review required by law,” Sommer said.
POC lost earlier court battles to try to block the first phase of the project and the company in charge of the Tule Wind Project said Friday it is confident it will win again.
“While we have yet to see their formal appeal request, we trust the court will point out that this issue has been asked and answered repeatedly – and the core argument is baseless,” said Art Sasse, director of communications and brand for Avangrid Renewables.
Avangrid officials insist the project is safe for birds and wildlife.
The first phase of the wind project, Tule I, is already under construction and is schedule to erect 52 General Electric turbines with towers 262 feet high and 351 feet in diameter, with an estimated 132 megawatts of electricity.
Southern California Edison has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement and the turbines will be connected to a substation operated by San Diego Gas & Electric.
Tule II will not be built until construction of Tule I is finished.
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