The decision on whether to approve a proposed 112-wind-turbine project west of Ocotillo was continued by the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, after a lengthy and at times emotional meeting that lasted all day.
“We won’t be able to give, I think, appropriate time, not just for those who want to speak but for responses,” said Supervisor Gary Wyatt, moments after the decision to continue the meeting was made.
The Ocotillo Express LLC Wind Energy Project was approved by the Imperial County Planning Commission late last month, but that decision was appealed by five groups including the applicant, Pattern Energy.
Advocates and opposition groups were literally sitting on opposing sides of the supervisors’ chambers as they waited for their turn to speak. While more than 30 speakers were able to share their thoughts, time wasn't enough for all the speakers to come forward.
Opposition groups sustain that cultural and archaeological resources, as well as wildlife will be permanently affected by the project, which would cover some 12,000 acres of mostly Bureau of Land Management property.
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Moreover, appeals list zoning violations and allege that biological and cultural impacts aren’t adequately addressed by the environmental impact report.
In response, advocates list the millions in revenue and the jobs the project could bring as reasons for standing behind it. Meanwhile, Pattern Energy holds that mitigation efforts adequately address all issues in the environmental impact report.
The board will reconvene the appeal hearing Wednesday at 1 p.m.