Big plans for some big wind farms in southeastern Oregon have the environmentalists fighting themselves. So here we go with round one — the bell has sounded and only one corner has a fighter and he is hitting himself. No hitting below the belt, please.
Here’s the deal. Columbia Energy Partners wants to build 200 wind turbines (small ones at only 25 stories tall) along the edge of the Steens Mountain Wilderness. What could be better? No one lives there — so the incessant hum from the turbines will not affect people. The one or two or three or four or more bird kills per turbine per year can easily be absorbed by the abundant wildlife in the area. If we only lose 700 or so raptors, it will be worth it. The winds blow mostly in the winter, too, which is great, as the power generated by those winter winds can offset the power loss of the easing winds in the gorge. Who would not want this free, renewable, clean, energy coming from this desolate corner of the state?
The environmentalists, that’s who. So what is the problem, you ask? Simple – sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, migratory birds and scenery. All will be greatly conflicted when these mighty turbines begin churning out megawatt after megawatt of the power we are so addicted to — and all for FREE!
The Oregon Natural Desert Association is not happy. Motorists would actually be able to see the turbines (they are big, I guess) from the Kiger Gorge viewpoint. Also, many of these turbines are planned for areas that are primary flyways for migratory birds. So, in addition to the hundreds of raptors we may lose hundreds or even thousands of migratory waterfowl. The pygmy rabbits and sage grouse will most certainly succumb to the adverse effects of induced electrical charges and sub-audible frequencies — you could charge your cell phone standing under these transmission lines! They, and other forms of wildlife, will be harmed — you can be certain of that fact.
In this fight I have to side with the environmentalists who favor free, clean, renewable energy. I must also side with the environmentalists who are against harming wildlife and ruining, forever, the scenic beauty of a “protected” area. I wonder who will win?