Blue Mountain Alliance


When water overpowers, wind farms get steamed

Sunday, July 3, 2011
National Public Radio

The Pacific Northwest is suffering from too much of a good thing — electricity. It was a snowy winter and a wet spring, and there’s lots of water behind the dams on the Columbia River, creating an oversupply of hydropower. As a result, the region’s new wind farms are being ordered to throttle back — and they’re not happy.  Read full story here

The future of wind development

Friday, July 1, 2011
East Oregonian

In the minutes after Umatilla County commissioners made their decision to approve tougher requirements for wind turbines, some people celebrated.

Others proclaimed it would be the end of the wind power business in Umatilla County.  Read full article here

Protecting the Watershed

Thursday, June 30, 2011
East Oregonian

In the decision to change wind siting rules Tuesday, the Umatilla County Commissioners did something new and unique: They quartered off an area with tougher restrictions, essentially keeping wind turbines out of the Walla Walla River watershed.

 In the law, it says the area is “subject to additional standards.”
 Read full article here

Utility-scale renewable projects in OR hit hard by BETC overhaul

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
North American Wind Power

Legislators in Oregon voted to drastically revamp the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), a program that has helped spur the state’s thriving renewable energy industry. H.B.3672, which passed by a large majority in both the Oregon House and Senate, limits the amount of money that renewable energy projects can receive.  Read full article here

Umatilla County turbine rules OK'd

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

A victory years in the making was handed down by Umatilla County Commissioners on Tuesday.

Commissioners Dennis Doherty, Larry Givens and Bill Hansell, in a series of three separate votes, changed existing rules and creating new ones regarding where and how industrial wind turbines can be built.
Read full article here

County Commissioners approve new wind power rules

Tuesday, June 24, 2011
East Oregonian

After years of work and months of meetings, the Umatilla County commissioners approved changes to the county's rules deciding where and how wind farms can be built. Commissioners voted just before 5 p.m., after yet another daylong meeting of debating and hearing testimony.
Read full article here

Wind project to move forward

Saturday, June 25, 2011
East Oregonian

The Helix Wind Power Facility may go ahead with plans to build up to 134 wind turbines, the Energy Facility Siting Council decided Friday.

The council voted unanimously to approve an amendment to Iberdrola Renewables’ site certificate for the Helix project with little discussion.
Read full article here

BPA identifies projects to add wind

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Bonneville Power Administration is proposing two transmission line upgrades in Washington and Montana that would deliver 3,200 additional megawatts of electricity, including 1,900 megawatts of wind power.
Read full article here

 Attorney debates for wind farms

Thursday, June 16, 2011
East Oregonian

Of the 70 people crowded into the media room at the Umatilla County Justice Center on Tuesday, the majority seemed to be standing against wind development.

But they didn’t account for everyone. A few came representing wind companies, including attorney Elaine Albrich, with Stoel Rives of Portland.
Read full article here

Commissioners OK setback - for now

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
East Oregonian

Cindy Severe sat in front of the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners and held up a thick stack of papers. She and other residents had taken to the streets and gathered signatures, asking people to sign off on a two-mile setback between wind turbines and rural homes.  Read full article here

EOU survey seeks to harness public's attitude

June 13, 2011
LaGrande Observer

Are wind turbines the symbols of salvation for cash-starved rural counties, or disfiguring cancers on the landscape? Baby steps to wean an economy off fossil fuels, or menaces to public health and property values? It may depend on who you ask.    Read full article here

Umatilla County to review another draft of wind siting rules

Sunday, June 12, 2011
East Oregonian

On Tuesday, the Umatilla County Board of Commissioners will hold another meeting analyzing possible changes to the rules allowing wind farms in the county.

The board has spent three previous meetings pouring over the changes proposed by the planning commission.  Read full article here

LUBA hands wind dispute back to Morrow County

Saturday, June 11, 2011
East Oregonian

The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals has asked the Morrow County Court to take another look at its decision regarding the Willow Creek wind farm and its neighbors.

The court ruled in January that the 48-turbine project near Ione exceeded the state’s noise control rule at one nearby home. It gave Invenergy, the project’s parent company, six months to comply with the rule.
Read complete article here


Project pits green energy vs. wildlife

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Beaverton Valley Times

It’s getting tougher to site new wind developments in Oregon, according to the folks at Horizon Wind Energy. As evidence, they point to a three-foot stack of application documents for their $600 million Antelope Ridge project in Eastern Oregon, piled on the floor of their downtown Portland office.  Read full article here

EOU class mails survey about proposed wind project

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
La Grande Observer

Got mail? If you’re one of 1,000 randomly-selected Union County residents, you’ve got a survey, too.
Eastern Oregon University sponsored and sent out the mailings last week to conduct a survey regarding the proposed Antelope Ridge Wind Farm on Craig Mountain.  Read full article here

Wind industry takes longer view

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Energy Prospects West

American Wind Energy Association leaders at a conference in Anaheim last month called for a long-term extension of the production tax credit and a national renewable-energy standard.  Read full article here

The gas is greener

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The New York Times

IN April, Gov. Jerry Brown made headlines by signing into law an ambitious mandate that requiresCalifornia to obtain one-third of its electricity from renewable energy sources like sunlight and wind by 2020. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have renewable electricity mandates.  President Obama and several members of Congress have supported one at the federal level. Polls routinely show strong support among voters for renewable energy projects — as long as they don’t cost too much.  Read full article here

NIMBY Battles Rage in Montana

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Energy Prospects West

A group of landowners in Montana have opened a new legal challenge to the recently enacted state law that allows transmission developers to use eminent domain to seize property needed for transmission projects.

On May 21, a group of landowners in Pondera and Teton counties filed suit in Teton County District Court against the state of Montana and Tonbridge Power Inc., the developer of the Montana Alberta Tie line, claiming the state's recently approved eminent domain law is unconstitutional.
Read full article here

Cantor takes tornado victims hostage for clean energy

Sunday, May 29, 2011
Crooks & Liars

In the article, click on "Eric Cantor Doubles Down on using Disaster Victims as Hostages to Spending Cuts" to see the video of Cantor speaking the vile words.  Read full article here

Siting council frustrated by turbine laws

Friday, May 20, 2011
The East Oregonian

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council reluctantly agreed to forgo a contested case against the proposed Helix Wind Power Facility at a meeting Wednesday.  Read full article here.

Noise a tough topic at wind farm rules meeting

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The East Oregonian

Dave Price lives 4 miles north of Athena.  From his home's picture window, he can see wind turbines two miles away.  Read the full article here.

The future? Higher Electricity Rates and More Oregonians on Assistance Programs

Tuesday, May 17, 2011
The Cascade Insider

The Oregon Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue recently passed SB 863 which allows electric utilities to increase the amount of funds available for low-income assistance programs.  Read full article here.

County lowers turbine setbacks to 1 mile

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The East Oregonian

Commissioners took another look at the rules for how to setup wind farms in Umatilla County.  This latest round of changes lowered the wind turbine setback from two miles to one.
Read the full article here

Wind trumps water despite higher cost as source of power

Sunday, April 17, 2011
The East Oregonian

Darn this wet weather.

Mother Nature has dumped tons and tons of snow in the mountains of Oregon and in the headwaters of the Columbia River in Idaho and  Montana.  Above snowpack exists in many places. 
Read full article here

BPA backs away from turbine shutdown plan   

Friday, April 15, 2011
The Oregonian

Under pressure from wind developers and investor-owned utilitiesaround the region, the Bonneville Power Administration this week backed away from a  plan to start pulling the plug on wind power when it has too much water and wind energy at the same time.  Read full article here

BPA, wind developers argue over loomimg problems of too much power from renewables

Thursday, April 14, 2011
The Oregonian

General Electric operates the Bigelow Wind Farm near Rufus. Wind developers and utilities such as PGE oppose a Bonneville Power Administration plan to curtail wind farms during periods of high water and high wind-energy generation.  Read full article here

Wind farms fight against turbine shutdown plan

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Oregonian

Pacific Northwest wind-power producers are battling a proposal that could force them to periodically shutdown their plants in the months ahead, potentially costing them million dollars in lost revenue. 
Read full article here


Editorials & Letters

Keep those subsidies flowing

Monday, December 23, 2011

It now is federal policy that we buy electricity we do not need, or pay Californians to take it, while curtailing power made far more cheaply, putting the stability of the regional electrical grid at risk, possibly endangering salmon and violating environmental law, all so owners of windmills not have their federal subsidies diminished.  Read full story here

BPA & wind developers: Federal energy ruling wrong for our region

Saturday, December 21, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished. The Bonneville Power Administration should be feeling this after going to great lengths to meet the challenges of connecting the enormous expansion of variable wind power to its electrical system and patiently holding regional discussions to resolve lingering disputes. Then came the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this month, overthrowing this work by asserting that it has the authority to nix BPA’s approach on what to do with its own system when too much generation threatens stability.
Read full story here

Abuses of Endangered Species Act

Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Oregon Catalyst

“Extreme preservationist groups are routinely using the provisions of the Act to enrich their own coffers while forcing the exclusion of human activity and destroying private property rights.” 
Senator Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls

Citizens see fruits of labor in wind rules

Sunday, July 10, 2011
East Oregonian

Our citizens faced formidable odds.
Unlimited wind development might have
provided shortterm financial benefits during
tough economic times. The wind companies had big-time attorneys on their side, along with the highly sought (albeit arguable)“green” energy label.  Read full article here

Umatilla windmill rules strike right balance

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

 It was critical to preserve the view of the Blue Mountains, protect the environment and still give property owners some flexibility.  Read full article here

Scenery Stealers: Wind farms ruin views in Columbia River Gorge

Saturday, July 2, 2011
The Oregonian

Washington's Dog Mountain is the premier trail for hikers to see spectacular wildflowers and enjoy expansive horizons running the entire length of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. I've taken those views for granted, assuming they were protected.  Read full article here

Commissions, planners deserve to be commended

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
East Oregonian

 We wish to thank the Umatilla County planning commissioners for their two-plus years of hard work on changing wind facility siting standards in Umatilla County.
Read full article here

Landowners need to be wary

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
East Oregonian

As I look at my town and my county over the last several years I find it hard to understand how we have got to this place we are at today with wind towers. How did it start?  Read full article here

We should value our silence, views

Sunday, June 26, 2011
East Oregonian

Although I am not as well informed as many people who are opposed to the windmill project, I need to ask an unanswered question: Where is the actual dividing line between one man’s private property rights and his neighbors?  Read full article here

Alliance seeks rules, not ban on wind turbines

Sunday, June 26, 2011
East Oregonian

A June 22 letter by Mr. Richard Stewart contained the following sentence. “The Blue Mountain Alliance has 1,400 signatures of people who don’t want any wind turbines in the county.”
Those 1,400 people signed a petition calling for the county commissioners to adopt the recommendations of the Umatilla County Planning Commission for improved siting standards for wind projects in the county. The proposed standards are not a “killer” for the wind industry in the county — though the wind developers want you to think they are.  Read full article here

Two-mile setback for turbines deserves support

Sunday, June 26, 2011
East Oregonian

The proper siting of wind generation needs to be done. Not improper siting left to the victims to live with, be it landowners, elk, birds, bats, fish or landscape. 
Read full article here

Wind power is not necessarily cheap, green or clean

Saturday, June 25, 2011
East Oregonian

The Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley have been working with the Blue Mountain Alliance to put some controls and guidlines on the development of wind farms in Eastern Oregon.
 We find there are two types of people in favor of wind farms: the uninformed and those that are going to get money or benefit from these projects.  Read full article here 

On Wind, Whine, Subsidies and Limits

Saturday, June 6, 2011
Energy News Data

 The environmental redispatch narrative from some wind folks is rife with outrage and a hyper-sense of victimization. Which, in my opinion, is unseemly.
Here we have a near-emergency on the Federal Columbia River Power System, with the joint forces of Mother Nature, gravity, federal environmental laws and markets severely restricting options. And here we have some members of a very-well-subsidized industry--that would be wind--tossing a fit over the temporary and modest loss of some of those generous subsidies.
Read full article here

Looking for answers blowin' in the wind

Sunday, June 19, 2011
East Oregonian, Editorial

A gentle wind can calm, a gust can
whip up the dust. 
 Read full article here

Protecting fish trumps wind power access to transmission lines

Friday, June 17, 2011
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Wind producers might have contracts for power, but space is not available on transmission lines because of heavy spring rains.
 Read full article here

Commission urged not to side with wind industry

Sunday, June 5, 2011
East Oregonian, Letter to Editor
The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners said they wanted science to make their decision on changing the industrial wind turbine siting amendments.
Read full article here

Overcoming Obama's wind power addiction

Sunday, June 5, 2011
Forbes, Opinion
Robert Bradley, Jr.

Commissioners should listen to planning commission

Saurday, June 4, 2011
East Oregonian, Letter to Editor
As commissioners of Umatilla County, it should go without saying that you serve the whole populace of Umatilla County. That is what you were voted in to do and it is our tax dollars that pay your wages.
Read full article here

Don't stick ratepayers when green power fails

Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Tri-City Herald, Editorial
Northwest wind farm operators want ratepayers to make-up for the industry's losses when oversupply curbs demand for wind power.  Read full article here

At times, it's wind we can't afford

Monday, May 23, 2011
Wenatchee World, Editorial

Energy Subsidies and Big Wind

Monday, May 23 2011
Senator Lamar Alexander (R. Tenn), Editorial

Renewable requirements make no sense

Saturday, May 21, 2011
Hermiston Herald, Opinions

BPA's wind power cut-off sends a troubling signal

Thursday, May 19, 2011
The Oregonian, Editorial

NY wind much ado for so little

Monday, May 9, 2011
WindAction Editorial