Pleasant Valley wind project subject to environmental assessment

Published 7:18 am Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A draft of an environmental assessment for the transition lines and substations for the Pleasant Valley Wind project is likely to be published later this month and open for public comments.

Pending a number of changes, the county board approved publication of a draft of the assessment. The county is permitting the transition lines and substations for the project, and the state is permitting the turbines.

The environmental assessment addresses a series of nine concerns voiced by citizens at a June 1 scoping meeting.

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One issue addressed in the report is whether or not transmission lines can be combined onto a single structure because multiple transmission lines are expected to pass through the area in the future.

Citizens also expressed concern over how the transmission lines will affect organic farming both livestock and produce. The transmission lines’ possible effect of electronic equipment and wireless tools like cell phones and Internet will also be addressed.

If the applicant, Renewable Energy Systems Americas, can make a number of changes to the document by July 19, the assessment will be published July 26.

A 10-day public comment period will follow. The county board will then review the public comments to see if any additional changes are required of the assessment. Then they’ll approve or reject a final version of the document.

Once the environmental assessment is finalized, the county board will shift its focus to conditional use permits for the transmission lines and substations. The document will be published in the Environmental Quality Board Monitor. The assessment will be available by contacting Mower County Environmental Services, 105 Eighth Ave. NE or by calling 437-9527.