The nearly 200,000 acre project area in Southern Idaho has many residents and nonresidents worried about the future of public access. We want to ensure that our members are still able to access this land and can enjoy it in the years to come. Add your voice to ours using the tool below and read the full briefing.
Bureau of Land Management is proposing to approve a lease for Magic Valley LLC to put a 400 turbine wind turbine wind farm near Shoshone and Twin Falls, Idaho. Multiple alternatives were created to satisfy NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act). However, the BLM is required to show a broad range of alternatives. The alternatives considered are all very similar therefore not complying with NEPA. The proposed alternative, Alternative B effects the largest area with. The BLM’s preferred alternative is Alternative C or E. Although Alternative E has the least amount of turbines at 269, Alternative D effects the least amount of land, 110,315 acres. The only alternative that doesn’t suffer from significant violations of the law is Alternative A – the No Action Alternative that doesn’t build the project.
Local residents are concerned with the proposed temporary and permanent loss of access for many uses such as OHV use, hunting and trapping, livestock grazing and general access to the land which would occur with any alternative selected.
BLM is required to follow several laws such as the Taylor Grazing Act, Endangered Species Act, Federal Lands Policy Management Act, Clean Water Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. The approval of this project has potential to violate every single one of these laws.
On February 6, 2023 the Governor and Lt.Governor of Idaho as well as Senators Risch and Crapo and Representative Simpson signed a letter with concerns to the Lava Ridge Wind Farm Project stating, “Dedicating hundreds of square miles of public lands to a specific use will have long-term effect on recreation, grazing, sporting uses and the land in general.”
BRC has sent a letter to the BLM requesting an extension on the comment period. Such an expansive project that effects this large of area needs to have adequate time to disseminate the information to the public to provide opportunity for the public to submit feedback. The largest current wind farm in Idaho is about ¼ the size of the proposed project. Therefore, a project of this size is new territory for residents and public land users and needs to have more time collect public comment.