Ocotillo Wind Employee Arrested After Alleged Threat

Turbines at the Ocotillo Express facility | Photo: Florian Boyd/Flickr/Creative Commons License

An employee of Pattern Energy, the company building the sprawling Ocotillo Express Wind facility in western Imperial County, has been arrested after allegedly threatening a neighbor of the project who has been documenting construction in video. On Tuesday, Imperial County Sheriffs arrested Russell Scott Graham, a construction manager for Pattern Energy's project, after Graham had allegedly confronted and threatened Ocotillo resident and project opponent Parke Ewing at around 11:30 that morning.

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Graham was released on bond later Tuesday.

Ewing provided the East County Magazine with what he described as a recording of the confrontation, which he captured on the audio track of his camera. It's embedded here (NSFW language advisory):

Ewing and several of his neighbors have spent recent months documenting what they say are slipshod construction practices, including lax attention paid to dust control, and have frequently published videos of completed turbines standing idle on days when there's no wind in Ocotillo. Ocotillo resident Jim Pelley told East County Magazine this week that this wasn't the first encounter residents had had with Graham:

According to East County Magazine, Ewing alleged that Graham attempted to grab his camera while issuing the threat:

The Imperial County Sheriff's office has reportedly asked the local District Attorney to charge Graham with attempted robbery in addition to threats of violence.

ReWire has attempted to get a statement from Pattern Energy on Graham's arrest. None has been forthcoming so far, though we'll update readers should Pattern contact us.

For ongoing environmental coverage in March 2017 and afterward, please visit our show Earth Focus, or browse Redefine for historic material.
KCET's award-winning environment news project Redefine ran from July 2012 through February 2017.

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