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Controversial wind farm project set for big public hearing

A controversial wind-turbine project proposed in eastern Shasta County will come before the Planning Commission on June 22.

Commissioners will consider the use permit and final environmental impact report for the Fountain Wind project. The public hearing is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at the Shasta College Theatre.

ConnectGen wants to build the project on nearly 4,500 acres six miles west of Burney and one mile west of the existing Hatchet Ridge wind project.

The wind farm would feature up to 71 turbines that could be as high as 679 feet – higher than Shasta Dam.

Neighbors opposing the project have for more than a year lobbied Shasta County supervisors to not approve the project during the board’s public comment period. Opponents say the forested area that the turbines would be located within is in a high fire hazard zone. They also are worried about how the project would affect property values, wildlife and tourism in that area.

ConnectGen has said it’s working with the landowner to minimize wildfire risk through prevention and early detection.

The project’s website says Fountain Wind will, among other things, generate $50 million in property tax revenue over 30 years, provide up to 12 full-time jobs, and provide more than 200 construction jobs during peak build out.

There is a good chance that whatever decision the planning commission makes, it will be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.

David Benda