Wind energy helps Native Americans prosper

A Native American leader from southern California is promoting wind power as a valuable tool for her tribe’s economic development and environmental stewardship strategies.

Monique La Chappa, chairwoman of the Campo Kumeyaay Nation in San Diego County, said on Sunday that the first wind farm the tribe developed was so successful that another wind farm is currently being planned.

La Chappa said in a newspaper article that wind power is clean, creates jobs and wealth, preserves habitat and poses no national security threats.

“The addition of another wind farm will enable our tribe to diversify our business investments and provide new and expanded programs and services for Campo people, such as health care, education, job training and youth leadership development,” she said. “And the creation of green jobs and related business activity will strengthen the overall economy in the San Diego region.”

La Chappa said the Campo Kumeyaay Nation’s first 50 MW wind farm on its east San Diego County reservation generates enough power for about 30,000 homes and saves approximately 110,000 tonnes a year in greenhouse gas emissions.

She said the tribe is currently working with Invenergy LLC and San Diego Gas & Electric to build another wind farm that is projected to produce an additional 160 megawatts of energy.

La Chappa said the Campo people see themselves as caretakers of the Earth and know they have a responsibility to help protect the environment and its sacred resources.

Noting that San Diego County boasts some of the best areas for wind energy in the US, she said the benefits of wind turbines are numerous.

“We must take a big-picture approach to environmental issues,” La Chappa said. “Wind energy produces electricity without emitting any pollutants or greenhouse gases, does not require mining or drilling, helps preserve habitat and poses no national security threats. And the footprint of a wind turbines project amounts to only about 5% of the total project area, preserving agricultural and ranching use, as well as open space.”

By Chris Rose,