Just before the Thursday deadline, Oakesdale resident Roger Whitten mailed an appeal of the Environmental Impact Statement for a 9,000-acre wind farm on Naff Ridge.
Whitten’s appeal could stall or freeze the construction process of the wind farm that has been three years in the making. Whitten’s appeal will be heard by a hearing examiner who also considers whether to issue the wind farm company, Palouse Wind, a conditional use permit to build the turbines. The appeal is scheduled to be heard simultaneously with the conditional use permit application May 9.
In his appeal, Whitten contended that low-frequency noise from wind turbines would harm the health of residents in the county. The county, he said, has ignored this threat to public health in their EIS and have done nothing to mitigate the damage it could cause to residents.
Whitten said his appeal will likely be dismissed by the municipal government and the hearings examiner.
“I feel I know the end result, I think everyone does,” he said. “The hearing’s examiner is the same as the government … they don’t get paid to protect the little guy, they get hired for pushing the process through till the end.”
Still, Whitten said it is imperative to bring the problem of low-frequency noise into the public sphere.
Whitten is one of two Whitman County residents who has been vocally opposed to the erection of a wind farm in the county. Whitten took the county to court earlier when commissioners passed an ordinance to regulate the construction and operation of a wind farm. Whitten also petitioned for two Whitman County commissioners to be recalled, in part, because of the wind farm ordinance. Both of these actions have been thrown out of court for lack of evidence.
“Whitman County’s response to the truth concerning the low-frequency noise pollution of industrial wind turbines provides excellent examples of both sophism and the technique of avoidance,” Whitten wrote in his appeal.
Once received by the planning department, Whitten’s appeal will be the first filed against the EIS.
Alan Thomson, the county planning director, said no appeals were filed by Monday afternoon.
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