To the editor:
Nearly 10 years ago the Summit Ridge Wind Farm in Wasco County was applied for but was never built. The new project developer, Pattern Energy, is now asking for a third extension of time to build it.
The project is poorly sited and poses an unacceptable risk to bald and golden eagle populations and potentially other birds and wildlife along the Deschutes River Canyon and the eastern Gorge. When the project was first proposed, numerous eagles and eagle nests were discovered near the project site, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended a six-mile buffer between the wind turbines and eagle nests.
This project would also harm views along the lower Deschutes River and the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area. It would forever negatively impact the recreational experience along the Lower Deschutes Wild and Scenic River.
Since the project was originally applied for there have been advances in science and technology that could reduce harm to eagles. These need to be integrated into the project. New wildlife surveys need to be conducted to replace the outdated information provided by the previous developer.
Due to the negative impacts and the lack of information needed to make an informed decision, the Energy Facility Siting Council should reject Pattern Energy’s request for a third extension.