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Vantage wind farm requirements issued  

A 30-page list of requirements for the construction and operation of the proposed Vantage Wind Power Project was issued Monday by Kittitas County Development Services officials.

The list is part of the county’s determination that an environmental impact statement is not necessary for the 69-turbine wind farm planned for a 4,750-acre site seven miles west of Vantage between Vantage Highway and Interstate 90.

What is required of the company proposing the $250 million, electricity-generating facility – Chicago-based Invenergy Wind North America LLC – is meeting the standards outlined by the county in its 30-page mitigated determination of non-significance, or MDNS.

An MDNS declaration means the county recognizes that a limited number of environmental impacts are likely to result from the project, and the applicant must show how it will work to safeguard against them or lessen the impacts.

The applicant also must meet the requirements in the MDNS declaration. The company has responded to the requirements and has listed what it will do to deal with impacts.

County staff planner Joanna Valencia, in the MDNS, stressed the issuance of an MDNS declaration for the project does not constitute final approval of the wind farm which came before the county as an application in mid-October.

Valencia said the MDNS is a threshold or initial determination by the county that the wind farm will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment.

She indicated that those opposed to the county’s MDNS declaration have until 5 p.m. March 11 to file a challenge against it.

Decisions for final approval or disapproval of the wind farm will come out of a public hearing jointly held by the Kittitas County Planning Commission and the county commissioners. That hearing is set for 6 p.m. March 12 in the Manastash Room at the county fairgrounds, under the grandstands.

After the joint hearing is conducted and the time for public testimony is closed, county commissioners will leave the meeting. Planning Commission members then deliberate in public and make a recommendation on the project. The recommendation then goes to county commissioners.

After receiving the Planning Commission recommendation, county commissioners will meet again to deliberate on a final decision whether to approve the project and a proposed development agreement. The Planning Commission and county commissioners can continue the public hearing to a later date to review the record and deliberate on their decisions.

The company proposes to use turbines that are 389 feet high, from tip of vertically extended blade to the ground.

The company also has submitted a proposed development agreement outlining its responsibilities in constructing, operating and maintaining the project. It also proposes what the company must do to safeguard the environment and what must be done by the company if the wind farm is dismantled.

The elongated wind farm project area between Vantage Highway and I-90 takes in land owned by four entities: Don Gerard of Eastsound, Doris Clerf of Kittitas, Poison Springs LLC of Kittitas and state-owned acreage managed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

There are two pathways for wind-power generation companies to gain wind farm approvals in the county: file solely with the county utilizing local land-use ordinances or file with the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council.

Wind North America LLC filed for the wind farm under county provisions of a new ordinance for wind-power projects that are proposed within a 500-square-mile east-county area designated as a pre-identified zone for wind farms.

The area has been designated as generally compatible for wind power projects.

Get the project info

• Information on the Vantage Wind Power Project, including the MDNS, comments to date, concerns and company mitigation measures, is available from the county Community Development Service office, 411 N. Ruby St. in Ellensburg or phone is 962-7506. You can also go online to www.dailyrecordnews.com and click on today’s news links.

By Mike Johnston
Senior Writer

Daily Record

28 February 2008

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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