By Tom Budlong
I just mined the Ocotillo project's Environmental Impact Statement issued before the project was approved. The document's job is to predict the project's impacts.
On noise: “Under this worst-case scenario the wind farm would be considered an acceptable land use and…would meet the Imperial County daytime and nighttime noise limits. (p. 4.9-7).
On air pollution: “Fugitive dust emissions during operation would be generated mostly from employee and maintenance vehicle trips and road grading activities.” (p.4.2.3). And a few pages later: “project operation would not have any adverse impacts” and ‘…impacts would not be substantial during operation.” The EIS conveniently ignored wind generated air pollution.
On light pollution: The EIS obviously was not written with the red lights in mind. From the EIS: “…is not expected to create a new source of substantial light…”, and, ‘…significant night lighting impacts are not expected.” (p.4.18-8). Then for mitigation: “all permanent exterior lighting … lamps and reflectors are not visible from beyond the project site…” (VR-2 on p. 4.18-18)
On Environmental Justice (defined as fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens), the EIS concludes "… no analysis is required for Ocotillo…” (p.4.5-2). And, this blatant statement: “Given the absence of environmental justice impacts, no mitigation measures are proposed.” The conclusions are patently false, since Ocotillo gets no environmental benefits, only environmental burdens.
When the EIS was released, I described it as twenty-five pounds of tortured justification (see photo of EIS). It has turned out to be fraudulent in addition. I am looking forward to learning of the power produced after a year or so of operation, hoping it shows at least some of the environmental and human cost has been worthwhile.
At my home in Los Angeles I don’t feel the effects. I only feel for the residents of Ocotillo.
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