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    Source:  Steve Kulchin

    RE: Proposed Desert Claim Project  

    Source:  Steve Kulchin | Impacts, Law, Letters, Washington

    To the Editor:

    A huge injustice is now occurring concerning the taking of public land uses, causing harm to the public’s health safety and welfare, and creating a legacy of change unprecedented in these Washington State modern times.

    Please read this string of conversations between myself & EFSEC [State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council]. I’ve copied the Governor as well, because she is about to be presented the EFSEC ruling and has the final decision to approve or deny.

    Wind energy is ok, but in the right place, like “all” of the other projects built in our state away from current residential land uses. This is not a NIMBY issue, rather it about the government allowing the manipulation of the rules, over the interests of those most affected and the current laws that mandate land use decisions be made on the local level via GMA’s [Growth Management Acts].

    Thank you for looking into this, I’m sure readers concerned with how Washington State enforces its rules, regulations & current laws would be interested in this current story.


    Dear Governor,

    I’m cc’ing you on my recent reply to EFSEC, regarding The Desert Claim Wind Farm. Reason being, I feel it is becoming almost irrelevant to fight this project further, due to the recent political maneuvering I feel is going on at this time. I want your office to strongly consider all the facts, from those like myself who will be most impacted, so that you can insure the decision that this project is not built where it is currently proposed.

    From: Steve Kulchin
    Sent: Saturday, June 09, 2007
    To: AllenF@CTED.WA.GOV
    Subject: Proposed Rule Changes

    I am aghast at the news I just read.

    I request immediate clarification from you (EFSEC) on the two changes to the rules EFSEC must abide by when approving energy projects.

    Further, I seek confirmation from you, (EFSEC) that these two proposed rule changes were or were not proposed by EFSEC.

    I understand EFSEC has proposed:

    Proposed Rule Change 1:
    “EFSEC will schedule an adjudicative proceeding if an energy facility or alternative energy resource is found to be inconsistent with local land use plans and zoning ordinances rather than requiring an applicant to apply to local governments for changes to the land use plans or zoning ordinances.”

    My comment / question:
    Doesn’t is seem this would effectively remove county authority completely from siting energy facilities? Isn’t this completely against the purpose of the Growth Management Act? I understand the GMA is a bottom up process, both requiring and respecting local decisions.

    Proposed Rule Change #2:
    “EFSEC will have the option of having SEPA documents prepared by EFSEC, independent consultants, or the applicant; which gives EFSEC the option of preparing a Final Environmental Impact Statement before or after an adjudicative hearing and changes the immediate responsibility for SEPA activities from the Council members to the Council’s Responsible Official.”

    My comment / question:
    Say this isn’t so. Are you kidding me? There is absolutely no way EFSEC or the Applicant should be allowed to create SEPA documents. This is blatantly & openly in conflict with protecting the interests of Washington State residents.

    Your immediate reply is appreciated.

    Steve Kulchin
    Redmond, WA
    &
    Ellensburg, WA

    EFSEC’s reply

    Below is a brief response to your two comment/questions.

    1. Under state law (RCW 80.50.120) EFSEC certification is “in lieu of any permit, certificate or similar document required by any department, agency, division, bureau, commission, board, or political subdivision of the state.” This means that a county or city does not have authority for siting of energy facilities that are under EFSEC jurisdiction (wind farms can choose to come under EFSEC jurisdiction). The Growth Management Act requires local governments to plan for all growth including energy facilities. State rules adopted to implement GMA require local governments to consider state regulatory processes and specifically cites EFSEC as one of the state issued permit or certification that should be considered when developing plans under GMA (WAC 365-195-735).

    2. All SEPA documents are the responsibility of local and state governments. Many state and local governments have applicants prepare the EIS’s for them. Ultimately the government agency is responsible for its contents and any challenges to these documents are made against the state or local agencies so they have to ensure their quality.

    Allen Fiksdal
    Washington State
    Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council
    PO Box 43172
    Olympia , WA 98504-3172
    Phone: 360-956-2152
    Fax: 360-956-2158
    Visit the EFSEC web site at: www.efsec.wa.gov/

    Steve comments:

    This news is absolutely prosperous!

    If EFSEC is allowed to propose and make their own rules, where is the accountability in our state government.

    What can we do?

    Attend a meeting in Olympia during a workday? I run a construction business! I’d be glad to be there, but I need more notice to make it happen.

    This is just BS.

    I’ll copy the governor and reps now.

    I sent the following to EFSEC, Allen Fiksdal, via email on 6-12-07:

    Dear EFSEC,

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    But, you know this is very frustrating.

    One the one side, I own a home downwind that immediately looks over and thru the proposed tower locations, and am very concerned about many issues, fire, viewshed, property values, noise transmission aided by wind and many more. I have invested alot of money in this home. If this project had existed, I’d have built elsewhere. I think I speak for most people when I say that.

    On the other side, wind energy appears a very promising energy technology. I actually own a construction company that drills and builds the foundations for these types of towers. In my experience these towers are usually remotely located away from residences and cities.

    I somewhat understand the legalities of the government’s right of land condemnation, eminent domain and the process of decisions that are often required to be made in the public’s best interest. However, in this case, I strongly feel a wind farm is not a land use that is fully contained within its property lines. Rather, it’s zone of impacts are both felt locally and regionally are more far reaching. I feel the physical, environmental and economic impacts more approach the size of a dam’s impact on a region.

    My own vested interest aside, this project is in the wrong location, it should be remotely located.

    Further, if EFSEC approves this project, which in my opinion seems likely based on the numerous recent events that have occurred since this project approval decision was taken away from the local community (where the applicant allegedly pledged to abide by the decision of the community processes), I trust the government stands ready to deal with, mitigate and compensate the numerous impacted parties.

    This reminds me of freeway construction over the years. Whole neighborhoods were demolished, and property owners were paid off, while entire neighborhoods were destroyed. I worked on these projects then. Today I build the sound walls along side these freeways which are a direct result of years of studying and understanding the actual impacts of freeways on the public’s health safety and welfare.

    The legacy of potential change resting upon EFSEC’s decision is huge.

    My recommendation:

    Because many land use and public health, safety and welfare issues have come forward, as well as the foreseeable and imminent legal and political ramifications, I recommend the EFSEC permit wind farms to be built where the local governing agencies have designated them. This one, Desert Claim, does not belong where it is proposed.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Steve Kulchin
    Ellensburg, WA

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