April 19, 2023
The proposed Lava Ridge Wind Project adjacent to the Minidoka National Historic Site would disrupt the site’s historic significance to survivors of WWII incarceration and their descendants. Densho submitted public comments to the Bureau of Land Management on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), asking them to listen to the community’s opposition to the project. Read more about the project and how it is a part of a pattern of erasing marginalized histories; and learn how to submit your own comments before the April 20 deadline.
Lava Ridge Wind Project EIS
ATTN: Kasey Prestwich, Project Manager
BLM Shoshone Field Office
400 West F Street
Shoshone, ID 83352
To Whom It May Concern:
As an organization dedicated to preserving Japanese American World War II incarceration history, we at Densho urge you to select “Option A, No Action” in regards to the proposed construction of the Lava Ridge wind farm adjacent to the Minidoka National Historic Site. We share the concerns of many WWII incarceration survivors and descendants in our community surrounding the disruptive impact of the Lava Ridge project, as currently proposed, on the Minidoka historic site. We’ve outlined below a few of our key concerns:
- Minidoka is one of the few federally recognized sites of Asian American history in the United States and it is essential that it be protected as a place for learning and healing for future generations. The proposed wind farm would gravely jeopardize the viewshed and solemn nature of the site. To illustrate this point, we ask that you consider the prospect of a project like Lava Ridge adjacent to 9/11’s Ground Zero, or to the Arlington Cemetery. Even if these sites were located in rural areas, it would be unthinkable to desecrate them with a project that is the size and scope of Lava Ridge. To survivors of WWII incarceration and their descendents, Minidoka holds the same somber significance that Ground Zero and the Arlington Cemetery hold for some members of American society. We demand that it be respected accordingly.
- To date, the voices of Minidoka survivors and their descendants have not been taken seriously as key stakeholders. As a case in point, the DEIS identifies Minidoka NHS as being a place for “Tourists and Recreationalists,” failing to recognize that a primary constituent of the site consists of survivors and descendents of World War II incarceration. The community has consistently stated that Lava Ridge would result in a significant impairment of resources. As key stakeholders, their concerns should be accorded due respect in any plans that would impact the site.
- As we address the climate crisis, we cannot dismiss Minidoka’s historical significance nor replicate the injustice wherein communities of color experience a disproportionate burden from our fossil fuel economy. Our sustainable, clean energy future must be intersectional in its approach and center those communities most impacted. The selection of a site in direct proximity to Minidoka is antithetical to the Bureau of Land Management’s Environmental Justice Implementation Instruction Memorandum (https://www.blm.gov/policy/im2022-059).
By listening to the community’s opposition to the proposed site of Lava Ridge and deciding to not move forward with the Lava Ridge project as proposed, you have the opportunity to set a new standard for how we ethically approach clean energy production going forward. We strongly encourage you to make the most ethical and community-centered decision here by electing to take the path of “no action” on the proposed Lava Ridge project.
Naomi Ostwald Kawamura, Executive Director
On behalf of the Densho staff
[Header: Project rendering from the Lava Ridge DEIS (Draft Environmental Impact Study) showing wind turbines visible from the Minidoka Historic Site. Courtesy of Friends of Minidoka.]