Pentagon withdraws objection to Oregon wind farm project; construction to begin

The Pentagon has withdrawn its objection to what promises to be the world's largest wind farm, allowing for construction to move ahead on the Shepherds Flat project in Oregon.

Senior Defense Department officials called Oregon Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley on Friday to say they will update the radar system near Fossil, Ore., so that its operation would not be affected by the 338 turbines that will be installed as part of the project. Both senators had lobbied fiercely for the $2 billion project, which could generate 16,000 jobs nationwide, after the Pentagon held up a permit that needs to be granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Construction had been slated to begin Saturday.

"The bottom line for me is, had this not been worked out, blocking this project would have chilled the entire opportunity to generate significant new private investment in clean energy in this country," Wyden said. He added that the resolution of the impasse "is showing that protecting America in a dangerous world and shaking free our dependence on foreign oil are not mutually exclusive. It's going to be possible to address both of these very significant policy concerns."

Source: The Washington Post, By Juliet Eilperin, staff writer