BLM advances Idaho wind project near WWII incarceration site

By Scott Streater | 06/06/2024 01:34 PM EDT

The agency said the revised proposal would reduce visibility from the site of a solemn park commemorating an internment camp for Japanese Americans.

Critics of a proposed wind farm in Idaho say it would be too close to the former Minidoka War Relocation Center.

Critics of a proposed wind farm in Idaho have said it would be too close to the former Minidoka War Relocation Center, which incarcerated thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. NPS, Joshua Winchell/USFWS

The Bureau of Land Management is advancing the bitterly contested Lava Ridge Wind Project in southern Idaho that critics say will ruin the setting of a former incarceration camp where Japanese Americans were held during World War II.

BLM on Thursday released its final review of the proposed Lava Ridge project, outlining a sharply revised proposal from the original plan that the agency says will allow it to approve one of the largest power-producing wind farms in North America while still protecting the nearby Minidoka National Historic Site, which preserves the remnants of the relocation center where thousands of people were forcibly sent during the war.

BLM’s proposal, outlined in a final environmental impact statement, would reduce the number of wind turbines — to 241 from 400 — and cut by nearly half the size of the originally proposed project, to 103,864 acres. The final plan would concentrate the turbines within 44,768 acres of corridors running north and northeast of the National Park Service-run site.


The latest proposal also calls for capping the height of the wind turbines — to 660 feet, from the original 740 feet — and would keep all turbines at least 9 miles away from the Minidoka site.