Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Proposed Zoning Laws Could Ruin Idaho Forests

Guys, it's late. I am not feeling all that well. But I have to post something really important for all my peeps who live in Bingham County.

Tomorrow night there is a public hearing followed by a vote by the county commissioners that could change the laws and allow 490-foot tall windmills to be build in lands zoned for natural resources (canyons, forestlands, scenic vistas, etc.). I am not against wind power, but I do believe that we need to protect and preserve our forests. Frankly, Idaho doesn't have that many trees. :)

I want to get more into it, but I am so exhausted. I've worked so many late nights in the past week. Check out my friend Stefanie's blog for some more details. And please, exercise your voice as a citizen and come to the public hearing tomorrow to let the commissioners know how you would like them to vote. They are public servants and need to know how we feel.

7:00 pm
Planning and Zoning Ordinance Meeting
Bingham County Courthouse
Courtroom #1
501 North Maple Street
Blackfoot, ID
If the the zoning ordinances pass, it will set precedent in Idaho and before we know it, these huge windmills could be in all our natural lands - places like Island Park and Sun Valley. I don't have anything against windmills - I think it can be a really great alternative - but we have to make sure they are in the right places and that we don't compromise our beautiful natural lands for them.

Let me know if you want to carpool!


Alicia said...

This has nothing to do with the zoning laws, but I just read a book to my son that was about adoption. It was a cute story if you want to check it out from your local library. It is called The Red Blanket by Eliza Thomas.

Linds said...

I agree it is important to participate in processes that decide the use of public resources.I just have to call you on the "Idaho doesn't have that many trees" statement; Idaho is around 50% national forest. You can check out the public lands maps here: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner/mapcenter.aspx (click on National Forests, then "refresh map"). Anything designated as national forest isn't exempt from development or extraction. Even if it's not used for windmills, which create renewable energy that is desperately needed, private logging companies are cutting down public trees for their own benefit - though the gov't gets a portion of the revenue from the sale of these trees. Though that is a different issue and these lands are clearly county-owned lands, the difference in this case is that someone who owns a lot of land in Bingham county doesn't like this type of development and is using his influence, unethically in my opinion, to sway things his way. I know, I'm a bit of a cynic, but you have to ask yourself, did you read the ordinance or go out of your way to hear an alternate opinion? I'm willing to bet that most of those who got a free dinner from the man who signs their paychecks didn't.

Anyway, I hope the meeting goes well and that both sides of this issue have a fair chance to present their case. I'll be curious to see how it pans out.

Lara said...

Lindsay, you are right to advise everyone to look at both sides of the issue. While I haven't read all 217 pages of the ordinance (I admit I skimmed over trailer park regulations) I have thoroughly read about 100 pages, including the 5 pages regarding windmills - personal and commercial. I have read all I can about wind energy, the habitats in Wolverine Canyon, news stories, Ridgeline's stance, etc.

As citizens, we NEED to get involved. It's our responsibility. And you can't complain if you don't exercise your voice. Part of that responsibility is investigating both sides, then figuring out what feels right to you.

I feel confident that I have done that. I can't speak for anyone but myself.

While it's true that Idaho is around 50% national forest, I was strictly talking Bingham County. And I do support wind energy. In fact, I pay extra on my monthly power bill to support it. :) I feel strongly about sustainable, renewable energy.

But I do care where they are placed. I don't want one in my backyard. And I feel the state should have protected scenic corridors. And since I care, I better do what I can to let my leaders know.

If people don't mind windmills in Wolverine Canyon, then hopefully they will go to the hearing and make their voices heard in support of the ordinance. Or against it. Whatever. The point is to be active in the laws that affect us, not just let it happen and then wonder what happened.


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