ONDA and the Audubon Society sue Salazar and BLM
By Jennifer Jenks
The Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Audubon Society of Portland last Thursday, April 5, brought a lawsuit against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to block what the conservation groups claim is “an illegal project by the Department of the Interior that would forever change an otherwise wild and beautiful landscape.”
The “illegal project” referred to in the suit is the plan to build an industrial-scale wind facility on Steens Mountain.
In December, Salazar approved a plan allowing Columbia Energy Partners to build wind turbines in the Steens Mountain area.
“Of all the places in Oregon’s high desert, this is perhaps the worst place for wind development,” said Brent Fenty, executive director of ONDA. “Steens Mountain is to Oregon’s deserts what Crater Lake is to our forests; a truly special place we should protect for future generations.”
“We support responsible renewable energy development, but this is the antithesis,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director for Portland Audubon. “There is nothing green about this project. It puts imperiled wildlife populations at risk and opens one of our great wild landscapes to industrial development.”
The lawsuit is on the agenda for today’s Harney County Court meeting, April 11, in Judge Steve Grasty’s office at the courthouse beginning at 10 a.m.