I have lived in southern Idaho all my life and the volcanic landscape, native wildlife and ancient archaeological sites of the region are very important to me. A proposal by a Massachusetts-based company for a 100-turbine wind development would alter the familiar landscape of my home forever. The project would begin 13 miles from Idaho Falls and extend west on both sides of Highway 20 to within a mile of East Butte. Turbines would be 250 feet taller than those already operating east of Idaho Falls. Substations, powerlines, roads and a 5,000 plus acre solar installation would also be built.

Brenda Pace

Brenda Pace 

The developers expect to create hundreds of temporary construction jobs and 15 permanent jobs. Yearly “payments in lieu of property taxes” would go to the state and counties. Participating landowners, including 11 locals, four out-of-staters and the French-owned Areva company, would receive substantial lease payments. Investors would profit, and the addition of renewable energy to the grid would increase the area’s already considerable capacity in this market.

Brenda Pace is a retired archaeologist and a dedicated volunteer for bats, birds and other natural resources.

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