Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 5:30 PM Updated: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 5:55 PM
By Richard Cockle, The Oregonian
BURNS -- The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has given the go-ahead for engineering and other surveys along a proposed electrical transmission line route that one day could serve a $300 million wind energy project on picturesque Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon.
But before the BLM construction approval is awarded, the 44-mile-long North Steens Transmission Line has a major hurdle, a court challenge filed April 5 by the Portland Audubon Society and Oregon Natural Desert Association.
The two environmental organizations dislike the aesthetics of placing 40 to 60 huge, rolled-steel wind turbines on the north end of the 9,733-foot fault-block of Steens Mountain. And they say the 415-foot turbines, access roads and associated development would threaten migratory routes and breeding areas for Bighorn sheep, golden eagles and sage-grouse.
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