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Shasta County Denies Proposed Wind Turbine Project

Visual Simulation of the Fountain Wind Project
Visual simulation of the Fountain Wind Project

Shasta county planning officials unanimously rejected a proposed wind farm, saying its negative impacts would outweigh any environmental benefits.

The Fountain Wind Project, proposed by Houston-based Connectgen, would include up to 72 wind turbines in East Shasta County. It was turned down by Shasta County Planning Commissioners at the end of a ten-hour-long meeting Tuesday night, with eight hours of public comment.

Paul Hellman is the county director of resource management. He said much of the opposition was from people not wanting the rural area to be dominated by the energy industry.

“The thought that there might even be more in the future, that this could become a real hub for this type of industry in that area," said Hellman. "They really didn’t want to see any perpetuation of this kind of use in that area, being a very rural area.”

Hellman says that the region-wide push for clean energy shouldn’t fall solely on areas like Shasta County.

“I think it’s pretty clear to most people that live here that we definitely produce more than our fair share of clean energy already," Hellman said. "You know, this area produces a lot more alternative energy than it consumes. And a lot of that is exported through the grid to other areas.”

The only major clean energy facility in Shasta County is the Hatchet Ridge Wind Farm, which has 44 turbines.

Many in opposition of the Fountain Wind project say more wind turbines would harm the bird population, many of which are culturally significant to nearby the Pit River Tribe. They also say the turbines would obstruct the view of the mountain range, which is culturally and traditionally important to the Pit River Tribe.

The Fountain Wind project would be run by Houston-based energy company Connectgen. In their proposal, they emphasized the tax revenue the county would gain as well as the job opportunities construction and maintenance would provide.

The company has four more days to decide whether to appeal the decision.