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COB neighbors opposed


COB's Rob Trotta in Langell Valley listening to
emotional pleas from local residents


KBC photos

by Lynn Brock, 1/28/04

Opinions were strongly against the siting of the proposed COB Energy
Facility in Langell Valley at a meeting in Lorella last Thursday.
Concerns range from issues surrounding water and land zoned EFU
(exclusive farm use) in the small agricultural community of Bonanza to
issues of noise, air pollution, traffic, and many others. Perhaps
seventy to a hundred people attended the Lorella meeting with most
speakers commenting that this giant power facility does not belong in
their rural agricultural valley.

Only about five speakers were in favor of the proposed facility stating
that it would provide jobs for many and job training for young people
during the construction phase.

The main issue here may be that this facility should not be sited on
land zoned EFU. Oregon has maintained a strong policy to protect
farmland. That policy was set by the state's legislature in 1973. It
calls for "preservation of a maximum amount of the limited supply of
agricultural land (ORS 215.243).

ORS 469.504(2), which deals with the an exceptions process in the
specific context of the energy facility siting process as follows:

(2) The council may find goal compliance for a facility that does not
otherwise comply with one or more statewide planning goals by taking an
exception to the applicable goal. Notwithstanding the requirements of
ORS 197.732, the statewide planning goal pertaining to the exception
process or any rules of the Land Conservation and Development Commission
pertaining to an exception process goal, the council may take an
exception to a goal if the council finds:

(a) The land subject to the exception is physically developed to the
extent that the land is no longer available for uses allowed by the
applicable goal;

(b) The land subject to the exception is irrevocably committed as
described by the rules of the Land Conservation and Development
Commission to uses not allowed by the applicable goal because existing
adjacent uses and other relevant factors make uses allowed by the
applicable goal impracticable; or

(c) The following standards are met:

(A) Reasons justify why the state policy embodied in the applicable
goal should not apply;

Page 220 of the DPO refers to ORS 469.504(2)(c)(A). The reason given is
that "the use is dependent upon Unique Resources Located on Resource
Land" and that "The proposed Energy Facility site is centrally located
relative to three resources that are critical to the operation of the
Energy Facility"... water, natural gas pipeline, and major regional
electric transmission line and substation. When the COB application was
determined to be complete, initially, it was for a water cooled
facility. At that time they required over 7000 gallons per minute of
water for their process. Now that they have amended that application to
be an air cooled facility, the energy facility requires less than three
percent of that amount. They no longer need to be located with access to
the Babson well which produces such a great quantity of water. Their
needs no longer require any unique resource or unique combination of
resources.

This facility no longer needs to be located at this site. The Department
of Energy's draft recommends they are allowed their exception. Based on
Oregon law, I would argue that they should not qualify for a Goal 3
exception.

Two public hearings were held Thursday, January 22, 2004 on the Draft
Proposed Order for the proposed COB Energy Facility, the 1,160 megawatt
gas-fired power plant which has applied to be sited about three miles
south of Bonanza in Klamath County. In order to construct the proposed
facility, COB must obtain a Site Certificate from the Energy Facility
Siting Council. Hearings were held at 2 p.m. at Lorella Community Hall,
Lorella, Oregon, a small farm community about thirty miles east of
Klamath Falls, Oregon and at 7 p.m. at the Klamath County Fairgrounds in
Klamath Falls, Oregon. The purpose of the afternoon and evening sessions
was to make sure that people with different schedules could attend at
least one session. The independent hearing officer presided over these
hearings. The hearing officer is Virginia Gustafson.

The 7 p.m. meeting of Department of Energy attracted a smaller crowd.
Although more men from the trades spoke in favor of construction jobs
which would be provided by this project, the strongest arguments
appeared to come from the opponents of the project. One speaker, a
geologist (unregistered in Oregon), introduced information concerning
geographic faults surrounding the area and the likelihood of
earthquakes. A huge fault lying along Bryant Mountain probably runs
directly beneath the site of the facility itself. COB indicates that a
ten mile long fault is unmapped which we believe is the Bryant Mountain
fault which has been mapped and will soon be published by DOGAMI. Read
her report on this site at:
http://www.klamathbasincrisis.org/COB/cobtestimony/gailhildreth012204.htm

Bonneville Power Administration is considering Cob's request to connect
with the Federal Transmission System, as documented in the federal draft
environmental
impact statement (EIS) published in November. This federal process is
separate from Oregon's siting process, and the two reviews are not
connected. To facilitate public review of the draft EIS, BPA held a
public open house reception prior to each Department of Energy draft
proposed order hearing. The first open house started at the Lorella
Community Hall at noon on January 22. The second was scheduled to start
at the Klamath County Fairgrounds at 5 p.m. Due to an error in printing,
the public was notified that the fairgrounds meeting would start at 3
p.m. Comments are due on the draft EIS by February 13, 2004.

COB originally proposed its facility as a water-cooled facility. In
response to public comment on its plans for water use, COB amended its
application to propose an air-cooled facility. The facility would
require a total of about 300 acres for all of its components. Because
more than 20 of the acres for the energy facility would be farmland, COB
would require an exception from State Land Use Planning Goal 3 to build
its facility. Oregon law provides for the consideration of exceptions to
state land use planning goals, and the Department has recommended that
the Council allow a Goal 3 exception for the proposed facility. The
Department also has recommended that the Council allow a Goal 4
exception for the proposed facility to the extent that one is needed.
COB would require a new water right for its proposed water use of a
maximum of 210 gallons per minute of water for industrial use and 90
gallons per minute of water for irrigation from March 1 to October 31.
The Department has recommended that the Council direct the Department of
Water Resources to issue COB a water use permit. The priority date on
the water permit would be April 29, 2002.

To raise an issue on the record of this hearing, if you didn't raise the
issue at one of the hearings you must now submit it in writing. If you
do not raise an issue by the deadline for written comments, that issue
is precluded from consideration in the contested case. Any comments to
the Department about COB received prior to the December 30th notice will
not be included on the record of this hearing.

You must have commented in person at one of the hearings or in writing
by the deadline to participate in the forthcoming contested case or to
appeal the Council's final decision. DOE must receive your written
comments by 5 pm on Friday, February 5, 2002. Comments should be sent to
Catherine Van Horn at the Department of Energy address below. Comments
must be related to one of the applicable Council standards. You must
state your issues specifically enough so that the Council can respond to
those issues. Also, you must present facts that support your position on
the issue.

The Draft Proposed Order will be available on the Office of Energy
website at: www.energy.state.or.us/siting/facility.htm

Click on 'announcements' and follow the links to the proposed COB Energy
Facility.
Copies of the Draft Proposed Order and COB's application are available
for review at:
Bonanza Library, Klamath County Library, or Bly Library.


Catherine Van Horn
Oregon Department of Energy
625 Marion St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-3742
Phone: (503) 378-4041
Fax: (503) 373-7806
Email: catherine.vanhorn@state.or.us

 

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