The proposed Desert Claim Wind Power Project does not have to seek approval from the Kittitas County government, a state council decided Tuesday.
By a vote of 5-1, the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council decided the project does not have to file an application with the county because of the precedent set by an earlier EFSEC decision regarding the separate Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project, according to council chairman Jim Luce.
In a March 27 ruling on that project, a majority of council members called Kittitas County’s wind farm review ordinance flawed because it closely resembles the state EFSEC process and usurps the council’s authority, according to previous reporting in the Daily Record.
However, Luce said EFSEC expects Desert Claim to now put forward its best effort to resolve any differences that may exist with the county.
“We are continuing to encourage both parties to work together co-operatively,” he said.
EnXco USA Inc. is the parent company of Desert Claim that is seeking to build the 90-turbine wind farm eight miles northwest of Ellensburg. Luce said Desert Claim has until June 30 to decide whether or not it will seek pre-emption, which would sideline the county’s previous rejection of the project. The project would then be formally reviewed by EFSEC and the council would determine if the plan satisfies county land-use guidelines.
In a preliminary statement from Kittitas County Commission Chairman Alan Crankovich, he said he was not surprised by the EFSEC decision. He had yet to review the decision with county legal counsel and said he would address the issue more completely on Thursday.
By Patrick Carlson
9 May 2007
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