1. Potential damage to native flora, fauna, cultural sites and artifacts. Birds, in particular, would be at risk from the whirling blades of the turbines--notably the golden eagle and bats.
2. The U.S. Department of Interior/BLM and U.S. Department of Energy, in their report of February 2003, "Assessing the Potential for Renewable Energy on Public Lands," clearly states that sites must be "compatible with wind energy development: scenic areas, view-sheds, and non-development regions must be eliminated." By these criteria, Black Lava Butte and Flat Top Mesa are not suitable sites for wind energy projects.
3. The numerous negative aspects of wind turbine sites:
- Noise when the turbines are in motion (described as "like living next to the freeway").
- Building and maintenance of the site would involve transport of hazardous materials and waste on our desert roads.
- The increased fire risk presented by the turbines, in an area which has already suffered from major fire damage in recent years.
- The building of access roads, with all the consequent dust and disruption. Transport of heavy equipment would be required; this would be either via our current unsurfaced roads, which are easily rutted, or via new surfaced roads, which would further destroy the desert.
- It is probable that blasting would be required to build a base for each turbine. On the buttes, rock lies close to the surface in many areas. It is difficult to understand how a secure base for a turbine could be constructed without blasting of this rock layer.
- Electromagnetic interference--impacts to radar, microwave, television and radio transmissions.
- Under Federal Aviation Administration regulations, wind turbines need to be equipped with warning lights, resulting in additional light pollution of our desert night skies.
- Impacts to nearby residences and occupied buildings from shadow flicker, low-frequency sound, or EMF.
- Electrical collector lines, which can either be buried or "overhead lines may be used in cases where burial of lines would result in further habitat disturbance" (BLM Wind Energy Program Policies and Best Management Practices).
4. Local property values would plummet--who wants to live below wind turbines?
5. The visual impact in an area of natural beauty--see No. 2 above.
6. The inappropriateness of such a project for the area, with its valuable flora and fauna, its Native American cultural sites, and its lack of industrialization--see No. 2 above.
7. Public safety--already, during construction, there have been two accidents that could have resulted in injuries or fatalities to members of the public.
8. There are many alternatives to locating wind turbines in a rural area with valuable flora, fauna and cultural sites. Many of these alternatives are faster, cheaper, cleaner, and do not destroy our taxpayer-owned wilderness for the sake of energy profits and speculators. Such alternatives include rooftop solar and efficiency upgrades supported by PACE loans, cash grants rather than tax credits to home and business owners who install solar, simplification and reduced pricing for building permits for these improvements, etc. etc.
9. Why are investors/speculators spending a large amount of money on feasibility studies for wind energy production without a grid connection for the energy they generate? Thanks to fierce local opposition, the towers of Green Path North were banned from our area. Is there a replacement for Green Path North waiting in the wings? We need answers to these important questions.
10. The proposed wind energy farm is located in an area where the possibility of earthquake has to be taken into account--in this case, the proximity of the Pipes Canyon Fault.
Below are a few of the reasons why this project should not be permitted to go ahead and which you might want to mention in your protest letter or email message. Whether you write a letter or send an email, be sure to provide your contact information (name and address) along with your comments. The BLM contact for this project is Mickey Quillman in the BLM Barstow Field Office.
Snail mail: Mickey Quillman, Chief
BLM Barstow Field Office
2601 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311
Reasons why the Black Lava Butte Project should not be permitted to go ahead: