Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday said her decision on the proposed Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project may come by week’s end or next week, and that decision, whatever the outcome, will likely create more controversy.
Kittitas County officials said if she approves the project, it may prompt legal action or changes in wind farm siting rules in the state Legislature.
Gregoire’s brief comments came during her weekly news media question-answer period in Olympia, according to the governor’s public affairs staff.
Gregoire added that she wants to respect the jurisdiction and authority of elected, local government officials, yet she also has a significant responsibility to ensure the state is investigating and encouraging alternative sources of energy.
Kittitas County officials say if she approves the $150 million wind farm planned for 12 miles northwest of Ellensburg, it will run counter to local government’s decision-making process and its legal authority in the area of local land-use.
“I still maintain that approval of the project by the state renders one area of local government’s authority useless,” said Kittitas County Commission Chairman Alan Crankovich. “It will have a big ripple effect in local government’s relations to state government.”
Kittitas County’s Planning Commission and county commissioners voted last year to reject the 65-turbine project proposed by Houston-based Horizon Wind Energy because the company would not consider a setback of 2,500 feet between turbines and homes as suggested by the county.
By Mike Johnston
13 September 2007
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