Two Oregon-based environmental groups have filed a lawsuit to stop the construction of a large wind farm planned for Steens Mountain, located in southeastern Oregon's high desert.
The organizations – the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Audubon Society of Portland – say the project, which was approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior in December, is illegal and would ‘forever change an otherwise wild and beautiful landscape.’
The project would consist of 70 wind turbines and a high-capacity transmission line on Steens Mountain in southeast Oregon. Electricity generated by the wind project would be sent to Southern California as part of an agreement with Southern California Edison.
The conservation groups claim the transmission lines for the project would cut across an area protected by Congress in 2000 and that the project would fragment one of the largest undeveloped landscapes left in the Great Basin. In addition, they argue that wind turbines, transmission lines, access roads and associated development pose threats to migratory routes and breeding areas for sensitive species such as bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and the greater sage grouse.