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Construction Manager at Ocotillo Wind Project Arrested Following Threats to Photographers

Tip of the hat to Central Bruce Wind Action

Miriam Raftery — East County Magazine — February 8, 2013

Court has issued a restraining order requiring Graham to stay away from the photographer he attacked.

February 7, 2013 (Octillo) — Russell Scott Graham, 48, a representative at Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Wind Express Facility, has been arrested after allegedly attempting to wrestle a camera away from an East County Magazine photographer and making violent threats, including one documented on video during the attack.  (Warning, coarse language.)  According to the Imperial Valley Press, Graham is the construction manager at Pattern’s site.

Freelance photographers, Parke Ewing and Jim Pelley have spent months extensively documenting construction activities at the Ocotillo wind project.  Many of their videos and photos have been published by East County Magazine, including photographic evidence that raised serious questions on whether the project is producing wind speeds claimed, as ECM previously reported in a story title “Where is the Wind”?

The trouble began after Ewing posted a video on his Facebook page showing Graham confronted with questions posed by the photographers while he was giving a tour to visiting Canadians at the wind facility on February 2.  A photographer asked “How many house are being powered today — none, right?” as the turbines stood silent, not spinning.  “Zero.  It’s been that way for the last two months,” the photographer, who resides in Ocotillo, continued, drawing laughter from the tour visitors.

Graham repeatedly attempted to dodge the question, at one point noting that Pelley had complained of noise (on one of the rare occasions when the wind blew since the project went online in December): http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4290396898228

He later stated that “on a windy day” the turbines would power only 100 homes. (Note:  That remark was edited off the video following threats of violence/intimidation to the photographers, however, ECM’s editor has viewed the full unedited version, which you can now view here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWqwkphWnWE&feature=youtu.be

If that statement is accurate, with 110 turbines in the project, the total would power only 11,000 homes — far short of the 140,000 that Pattern claimed prior to the project’s construction.

(To continue reading, click here)

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