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County Mulls Turbine Ban

by Associated Press
Capital Press, June 25, 2009

Proposal would designate Blue Mountains as a visual resource

Wind turbines rise above the eastern plains of Oregon. With the constantly rising cost of energy, businesses look into alternatives and renewable-energy solutions. PENDLETON, Ore. - The Umatilla Planning Commission was scheduled on Thursday, June 25, to begin considering a proposal to keep wind turbines out of the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon.

The "No Turbine Zone" is an amendment to the county's comprehensive plan proposed by Richard Jolly of Milton-Freewater and the Blue Mountain Alliances. It seeks to designate the area as a visual resource.

The land in the proposal runs from Highway 11 in the east to the Umatilla National Forest on the west, between Washington state and Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

The commission has scheduled another hearing on the matter for July 23 and may add another meeting in August.

Once the planning commission makes a decision, its recommendation goes to the county commissioners, who plan a public hearing Sept. 22.

Jolly said he became involved because he thought the companies involved were not forthcoming with their plans. Currently, the only publicly acknowledged project for the Blue Mountains is being developed by an Irish company.

"We started out on this issue because of the secrecy involved in some of the development," he said. "Nobody knew what would happen until it happened."

Umatilla County Planning Director Tamra Mabbott says she believes the meeting will be well attended because of the issue involved.

Associated Press
County Mulls Turbine Ban
Capital Press, June 25, 2009

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