News Home

[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

News Watch Home

Attorneys make arguments in Umatilla County wind power appeal  

Credit:  By Samantha Tipler, East Oregonian, www.eastoregonian.com 16 December 2011 ~~

Umatilla County sidestepped state planning procedure when it imposed stricter wind-turbine siting laws in June, an attorney representing 14 local landowners argued Thursday in Salem.

The Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals heard oral arguments from Portland lawyer Ed Sullivan, representing the landowners, and Doug Olsen, the county counsel defending the new rules, which include a two-mile setback requirement for new wind farms.

Olsen, who phoned in to the hearing, argued the county adhered to proper procedure but acted primarily to protect homeowners from turbine noise and less out of environmental or aesthetic interests outlined in Goal 5 of the statewide planning goals.

“The county has the ability to set its own regulations for these types of facilities and chooses to do so,” Olsen said.

The new law passed June 28 enacts a two-mile setback between turbines and homes throughout the county, and also sets aside a large swath of the Blue Mountains with tougher rules to essentially keep turbines out of the Walla Walla watershed.

Local landowners appealed that decision July 22: Robert and Cheryl Cosner, Richard Stewart, Ted Reid, Tom and Jo Lynn Buell, Barabara Clutter, Ken and Ida Schiewe, Greg and Doris Tsiatos, Jim Hatley, Herb March and Fred Reichow.

Sullivan, with the firm Garvey Schubert Barer, argued the new laws effectively imposed Goal 5 restrictions without going through the proper Goal 5 processes. Goal 5 specifies protections for natural resources, scenic areas, historical areas and open spaces.

He accused the county of taking a “one-size-fits-all setback approach” that ran contrary to the Goal 5 process, which has specific requirements, including environmental and economic studies.

“Any increased level of protection of Goal 5 resources must be justified through findings and the Goal 5 process,” Sullivan said.

He referenced attempts in 2009 by conservationist Richard Jolly, a later founder of Blue Mountain Alliance, at the Goal 5 process that eventually lost steam. Jolly’s effort to have the Blue Mountains placed off-limits to wind turbines preceded the county remaking its rules over the next two years.

“Having failed to deal directly with suppression of wind energy under a Goal 5, they turned to an indirect approach,” Sullivan said. He also argued the legitimacy of the two-mile setback, chiefly that landowners or municipalities may waive the setback and allow any wind project to build closer than two miles. Sullivan called it “unbridled discretion without process.”

He also alleged the requirement could result in “unpleasantness” and “blackmail” because those agreements could be made outside public process.

Olsen responded the county is open to wind farms and will continue to allow them, but also has a responsibility to regulate them.

He argued the two-mile setbacks were imposed to protect people from noise, not Goal 5 resources. In the Walla Walla watershed, while some Goal 5 standards applied, they did not include everything the county is aiming to protect, Olsen asserted.

“The area far exceeds any setbacks or overlay zones meant to protect Goal 5 resources in this county,” he said.

When it came to waivers, Olsen said those would need planning commission approval, and thus a public process.

The board of appeals has until Jan. 12, 2012, to issue its ruling.

Source:  By Samantha Tipler, East Oregonian, www.eastoregonian.com 16 December 2011

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.