Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Conservation Groups Want Windpower Loophole Closed

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 12:37 AM

A group of conservation groups including the Bend-based Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) wants to Gov. Kulongoski to tighten windpower rules that allow companies to skirt rules that could lead to greater oversight and scrutiny of the massive wind power projects that have invaded Oregon. 

ONDA, the Portland Audobon Sociey and the Defenders of Wildlife sent a letter to Gov. Kulongoski today asking that he require windpower project developers be prohibited from breaking up their projects on paper to avoid state regulatory scrutiny. Several projects, including one near Steens Mtn have taken this approach, submitting multiple applications on what is essentially a single development to keep their projects under a 105-megawatt threshold for state review by the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council. 

“We support responsible renewable energy development in Oregon,” said Liz Nysson, Climate Change Coordinator for the Oregon Natural Desert Association.

“But it’s imperative that industrial-scale facilities not be allowed to skirt the comprehensive, public review process that the Council was created to achieve," Nysson said in a press release issued Monday afternoon.

Site suitability is just one of the issues surrounding Oregon's booming windfarm business. Gov. Kulongoski has also come under fire for  the millions in taxpayer funded subsidies handed out to windfarm developers in order to lure them to the state. The legislature is expected to end some of those economic incentives in the February special session.



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