The CPANP Logo

Release Date: June 10, 2024
Media Contact: Emily Thompson, Em************@pr********.org, 202-758-3936

Coalition Condemns BLM Plan to Approve Massive Wind Farm  Adjacent to Minidoka National Historic Site

On June 6, 2024, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it will approve a plan allowing a massive wind farm to be developed in close proximity to Minidoka National Historic Site (Minidoka or NHS), which is located in south central Idaho. The BLM’s preferred alternative for the wind farm would have a project area of 103,864 acres and would allow a maximum of 241 wind turbines up to 660 feet tall to be installed on the north side of Minidoka.

Minidoka NHS is a unit of the National Park System that commemorates the more than 13,000 Japanese Americans who were unjustly imprisoned at the Minidoka War Relocation Center during the World War II.  As described in the unit’s Foundation Document Overview, “Minidoka’s remote location in the high desert of Idaho provides an immersive setting that is fundamental to the visitor experience. Views of open fields and distant mountains create a sense of isolation on a vast landscape where Minidoka once stood.” 

Phil Francis, Chair of the Executive Council of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued the following statement:

The Coalition strongly condemns the Biden Administration’s plan to allow a massive wind farm be developed within close proximity to Minidoka National Historic Site. The stark setting of the World War II Japanese-American internment camp at Minidoka is a fundamental resource of the park unit that is essential for conveying the raw sense of isolation experienced by Japanese-American internees, who were unjustly uprooted from their homes and communities in other states and forced to relocate to Minidoka during the war.

The planning area for the Lava Ridge project is covered by BLM’s grossly outdated 1986 Monument Resources Management Plan (RMP), which did not contemplate nor consider the establishment of Minidoka as a national monument in 2001 or later is designation as an NHS in 2008.

The RMP also did not conduct a baseline evaluation of visual resources in the planning area nor establish related landscape management objectives to provide guidance for determining the appropriateness of future development proposals. Despite these significant gaps in applicable planning documents, the BLM accepted and is now planning to approve a massive wind energy project proposal immediately adjacent to Minidoka NHS.

This is a project that never should have been allowed to proceed to the point of approval. Lava Ridge represents a clear failure of BLM wind energy policy to provide effective project siting criteria or guidance that would exclude projects in close proximity to sensitive, culturally significant sites such as Minidoka. If this project gets constructed as proposed, it will irrevocably change the landscape surrounding the NHS that is so important to commemorating the stories of Minidoka survivors now and in the years ahead. 

# # # # #