Study: Turbines won’t detract from Steens’ beauty

A draft study by a consultant for the Bureau of Land Management concludes that proposed wind turbines wouldn’t affect the beauty of the Steens Wilderness.

Share this article!

A draft study by Entrix Environmental Solutions for the Bureau of Land Management says the proposed wind energy projects in southeast Oregon wouldn’t affect the desert’s beauty.

The wind turbines and power lines on the North end of Steens mountain would be visible from less than one-half of 1 percent of the Steens Wilderness, the study says.

“It is nice that a third party and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has validated our position that the visual impact is minimal,” said Jon Norling, spokesman for Columbia Energy Partners of Vancouver, project developers.

Opponents, however, remain skeptical that roughly 200 wind turbines, some towering 415 feet above the juniper and sagebrush, wouldn’t detract from the grandeur of the 9,733-foot fault-block mountain and its wildlife.