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PUD's Ketcham questions energy initiative  

In a give-and-take Monday, a Cowlitz PUD commissioner complained that a statewide renewable energy initiative would wrest control from local decision-makers and warned that wind power has shortcomings.

“If wind were a perfect resource, it would blow all the time. It doesn’t. That’s one of the principal flaws of this initiative,” Commissioner Buz Ketcham said.

Ketcham’s sparring partner, retired librarian Tedine Roos of Longview, said I-937 would encourage clean energy and discourage power plants that cough up greenhouse gases.

“I-937 is a start to decreasing reliance on fossil fuels, which is a factor in gltdn.com

obal warming,” she said.

Ketcham and Roos made their comments at a lightly attended forum in the PUD auditorium in Longview sponsored by the Cowlitz County League of Women Voters and the Kelso-Longview Chamber of Commerce.

The league and chamber organized it to air the pros and cons of the three statewide initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Minus the speakers, event organizers and KLTV technicians taping the event, about 15 people attended.

I-937 would require large electric utilities, including Cowlitz PUD, to gradually ramp up their reliance on non-hydro renewable energy, such as wind, solar and geothermal power.

Utilities would have to get 15 percent of their power from these renewable energy sources by 2020.

Speaking against the initiative, Ketcham said he’s all for renewable energy and noted that the PUD, without prodding, owns 46 percent of a 200-megawatt wind farm planned for Klickitat County.

But Ketcham said that because the wind varies, utilities should develop on-demand sources of energy.

“We have to build (electric) generation to fill in the holes for when the wind doesn’t blow. That means natural gas-combustion turbines, coal-fired plants, something else other than wind,” he said.

Roos said utilities could invest in a variety of emerging renewable resources, including tidal power, to meet the mandate and serve the public.

I-920 would repeal the state’s inheritance tax on estates worth more than $2 million. Family farms are exempt from the tax.

“Death taxes are really repugnant to the American way of life and the dream of accumulating wealth and being able to pass it on to your children or whomever you designate,” said Yes on I-920 chairman Dennis Falk, a retired Seattle police officer.

The No on 1-920 campaign did not send a representative to the forum.

In a statement sent by the campaign and read to the audience, I-920 foes said repealing the tax would benefit a small number of wealthy families, fewer than 250 estates a year, at the expense of everyone else.

I-933 would require state and local governments to waive land-use rules or compensate landowners for regulations that harm property values. The initiative would apply to regulations adopted since 1996.

The No on I-933 campaign also did not send a representative.

In a written statement, measure opponents said I-933 would force the public to scrap environmental protections or pay untold millions as the price of stopping “irresponsible development.”

Clark-Cowlitz Farm Bureau President Bill Zimmerman said I-933 stemmed from “a lot of frustration.”

Laws are preventing rural landowners from farming or logging, he said. “Reasonableness, that’s what we’re asking for.”

The league and chamber will host candidate forums 7 p.m. the next two Mondays at the PUD auditorium.

The card will be crowded next Monday, Oct. 2. Candidates for Congress, two 18th District state House seats, Cowlitz County commissioner and Cowlitz PUD commissioner have been invited.

On Oct. 9, candidates for two 19th District state House seats have been invited, along with a supporter and opponent of a countywide tax measure to fund an anti-drug initiative.

By Don Jenkins

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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