Ocotillo Neighbors Suing Over Use Of Construction Lights

Neighbors Say Lights Used During Construction Of Wind Turbines Blocking Views, Causing Light Pollution

People in one Ocotillo neighborhood say they cannot sleep at night because of floodlights shining through their bedroom windows.

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Resident Parke Ewing is among six who are suing Pattern Energy for light pollution.

Workers are installing 112 wind turbines in the town as part of the Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Project, which is owned by Pattern Energy.

Because of the hot temperatures, construction work must be done at night when it is cooler.

Bright flood lights are needed so the workers can perform the job of pouring concrete and handling steel.

"The lights are strategically located, shielded and directed down and away from the community to minimize impacts," according to a statement from Pattern Energy.

The Bureau of Land Management operates the land and said the project is in compliance with state laws.

Erin Curtis, a spokeswoman for the bureau, told 10News, "The BLM is monitoring the lighting being utilized during construction to ensure compliance with the Construction Lighting Mitigation Plan, which includes requirements to use the minimal amount of light necessary to perform work safely and directing lights downward or toward to the area to be illuminated to perform construction activities."

Ewing said the lights are pointed directly at his house. He said the lights became an issue in late July. Ewing said the lights are blocking his views as well as creating noise and light pollution.

"It's kind of difficult to talk about," said Ewing. "The property values have dropped and we probably aren't going to get much for our house. Nobody else wants to live here either."

Neighbor Jim Pelley, who is also part of the suit, said there have been no attempts to direct the lights away from the homes.

"It's like high car beams are pointed in your face when you walk out on the porch," said Pelley. "I have to shut all the blinds."

Pelley also said precious wildlife is being impacted by the lights.

"I love the desert peace and quiet," he said. "That's why I moved here and now everything is being taken away from me."

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