WASHINGTON (CN) – The D.C. Circuit ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to reconsider its decision to let an alternative-energy company build a wind farm near the site of the planned Ivanpah airport southwest of Las Vegas.
The court granted a petition for review to wind-farm opponent Clark County, which has been working with the FAA to develop a new airport to accommodate Las Vegas’ burgeoning population and booming tourism industry. As airport plans were underway, the FAA granted an energy company’s request to build 83 wind turbines on Table Mountain, overlooking Ivanpah Valley about 10 miles from the airport site.
The FAA concluded that the 400-foot turbines would not obstruct the airspace or interfere with radar systems at the new airport, but the county said the agency failed to follow the correct procedures to reach this determination.
In response, the FAA claimed that even if the county had standing and its petition was ripe, the agency’s decision was both reasonable and adequately explained.
But the federal appeals court said the FAA needed a better explanation, because the only evidence on record “supports the opposite conclusion – that the turbines would exceed the FAA’s obstruction standards and would interfere with radar systems at the new airport.”