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JACL Objects to BLM’s Lava Ridge Wind Farm FEIS

By June 6, 2024No Comments

Claim: Minidoka site’s ‘solemnity’ would be harmed, despite halving of project’s size.

By P.C. Staff

In reaction to the Bureau of Land Management’s June 6 release of its Final Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Lava Ridge Wind Project, the Japanese American Citizens League released a statement citing its “disappointment” with the report, which opens the doors to eventual commencement of the construction of a wind farm, despite the BLM’s assertion that its approval is for a “preferred alternative” that is “almost half of the project’s originally proposed size.”

At issue is the effect the wind farm would have on the viewshed from Idaho’s Minidoka National Historic Site, formerly Idaho’s WWII-era Minidoka War Relocation Authority Center, one of the 10 government operated WRA centers where ethnic Japanese, the majority of whom were U.S. citizens, were incarcerated after being removed from the West Coast beginning in 1942.

In its statement, from VP Public Affairs Seia Watanabe and Education & Communications Coordinator Matthew Weisbly, the JACL said it “is deeply disappointed by this blatant disregard for those who suffered during their incarceration at Minidoka and the lasting trauma to the Japanese American community that persists and is perpetuated by actions such as this.”

The BLM stated that the preferred alternative arrived at in its FEIS “reduces the area disturbed from the initial proposal by 50 percent, lowers the number of turbines from 400 to 241 to remove the most sensitive locations, and imposes maximum height limits of 660 feet for turbines.”

The JACL stated that the wind turbines would “permanently alter the sense of solemnity appropriate to the recognition and remembrance of the 13,000 people forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated there only because of their Japanese ancestry.”

Regarding the distance between the Minidoka site and the proposed wind farm, the BLM in a June 6 news release stated: “The preferred alternative adjusts the corridor configuration such that the closest turbine to the Minidoka National Historic Site would be nine miles away, helping to preserve the visitor experience of the remote nature of the former incarceration site for Japanese Americans during WWII.”

The FEIS also stated that the preferred alternative “reduces potential impacts to sage grouse, large wildlife migration routes and winter concentration areas, cultural resources, Jerome County Airport and agricultural aviation uses, public land ranchers, and adjacent private landowners.”

To view the entirety of the JACL’s statement, visit

To view the BLM’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, visit