Locals turn out in force to speak out in favor of wind project

By Randy Parks
Burns Times-Herald

The Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) met in Harney County on Friday, June 11, to hear public comment on a petition by the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) regarding additional protection for the Cooperative Management Protection Area (CMPA) of Steens Mountain.

After more than four hours of testimony and public comments, the EFSC voted unanimously to deny the petition. The EFSC board felt that there was no need for the petition by ONDA as the area is already regulated under the current CMPA, and they saw no need for more regulations, especially on private lands within the CMPA.

The board added they were not in favor of prohibiting economic development, such as wind energy, on private property.

In response to the board’s decision, Harney County Judge Steve Grasty said, “I appreciate the 200-plus people that showed up today at the hearing to participate in the process, as well as the 1,147 people who signed one of the petitions placed around town calling for the denial of ONDA’s request.

“Once again this community has come together for the good of the community. We won this battle, but the fight isn’t over yet. Drewsey area ranchers are still battling a similar situation, and we need to help them win that one.”

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