US approves road, power lines for Ore. wind farm

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The federal government has approved road and power line right of way through about 4 miles of government land for a Central Oregon development that could add up to 52 turbines to the state's wind-energy boom.

The West Butte wind farm would be on private land about 32 miles east of Bend, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said.

The developer will pay for about 9,000 acres of sage grouse habitat elsewhere on bureau holdings, and it has worked on protection plans for golden eagles and bats, the bureau said.

Liz Nysson of the Oregon Natural Desert Association said the developer started early to reduce the potential harm to wildlife, a challenge for the wind business as projects move out of farmland along the Columbia River into sagebrush country.