Update, February 2023: The Bureau of Land Management released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Lava Ridge Wind Farm Project in January 2023. This lengthy document details five proposed alternatives to address the various conflicts and objections to the project, which would dominate much of the view from the Minidoka Historic Site.
The BLM is accepting public comment on the draft EIS related to how well the various alternatives address conflicts, their analysis of the project’s impacts, and any new information that would improve understanding of the impacts and that should be included in the final Environmental Impact Statement.
In order to help our community members make effective statements, the Japanese American Museum of Oregon is partnering with Friends of Minidoka and Preservation Idaho to host a webinar on Wednesday, February 15 at 5:30pm Pacific Time.
Because of the complicated nature of this process and the specific requirements for these comments, we highly recommend attending this webinar or reviewing the notes that will be posted afterwards before submitting anything to the BLM.
During the webinar, we will discuss how to respond to the draft EIS and the upcoming BLM open houses. The presentation will include:
• Review of the EIS process
• How to make effective comments and how to submit them
• Areas of concern in the draft Environmental Impact Statement
• What to expect at Portland and Seattle BLM Open Houses
You can read more about the webinar here.
In February and March, the Bureau of Land Management will hold open houses in Portland and Seattle (Mercer Island) to answer questions, talk directly to the public, and give an opportunity to submit written or oral comments. This will not be a public hearing but we do want to show the agency that our community has strong concerns and objections to this project. The Portland event will take place on Wednesday, March 1 from 3-7pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 1000 NE Multnomah Street Portland, OR 97232. We will have more information about how we will organize our community for this public event soon and will post that information here.
Originally published April, 2022.
The Minidoka National Historic Site in the high desert of south-central Idaho is significant to the history of many Japanese Americans in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest–it was where many of their ancestors (or they themselves) were forcibly removed after Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 in 1942. Part of the National Park Service, the site serves multiple purposes for Japanese Americans and the general public–as a sacred site of reflection and remembrance and as an educational tool for learning about racism, civil liberties, the US during WWII, and the history of violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Magic Valley Energy has proposed the Lava Ridge Wind Project, a 400-unit wind turbine field on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property adjacent to the Minidoka National Historic Site. The project would include 400 wind towers, over a dozen of which would be located on the historic footprint of the Minidoka incarceration camp. For visitors to the site, this would effectively create a wall of towers and spinning blades that would dominate 114 degrees of the park’s 360 degree view.
Friends of Minidoka, which engages in and supports education, research, and historic preservation of the WWII incarceration experience, has led the effort to oppose the impact of the Lava Ridge Wind Project on Minidoka. We stand with Friends of Minidoka to object to the project as it is currently proposed because it will significantly and permanently alter the landscape and atmosphere of the site.
What has happened so far?
August 2021: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its Notice of Intent for Lava Ridge.
September 2021: The BLM hosted 2 virtual meetings to explain the project and take questions. They also accepted public comment on the project through September 20. More than 1,000 people submitted comments.
June 2022: The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project is still in progress. The BLM currently anticipates the Notice of Availability for the Draft EIS will be published in the Fall of 2022.
August 2022: The National Trust for Historic Preservation and Friends of Minidoka urged people to contact the BLM and request that they suspend their review of the project. Instead, they would like to see a public process for revising the Monument Resource Management Plan, which would strengthen protections for monuments such as Minidoka and change the way they are managed.
January 2023: The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is released by the BLM. The BLM is accepting comment on this draft until March 21. Friends of Minidoka, the Japanese America Museum of Oregon, and other partners are planning a webinar on how to submit a comment in February.
February 2023: Friends of Minidoka, the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, and other partners will host a webinar on February 15 to give more information on how to properly submit a comment on the draft EIS. This is the final opportunity to give public input on the project.
February and March 2023: The BLM will host several in-person information and comment collection sessions in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
You can read more about the project and the opposition to its impact here: