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Gregoire approves controversial wind facility  

Credit:  Ashley Ahearn, Northwest News Network, opb.org 5 March 2012 ~~

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has approved the Whistling Ridge Wind Energy Project in Southern Washington. But some people object because the project will be visible from I-84 in the scenic Columbia Gorge.

And it could threaten spotted owls. They’ve been seen within two miles of the site in the past year.

Nathan Baker is the staff attorney with Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

“Some places should be off limits to industrial wind development and we believe that the Columbia River Gorge is one of those places,” Baker says. “Most people are in favor of renewable energy but they’re not aware of all the negative costs and impacts from wind energy.”

The governor’s approval means 35 turbines, each over 400 feet tall, could be built in timberland near the town of Underwood, Washington.

At maximum capacity Whistling Ridge Project will produce 75 megawatts of power. That’s the equivalent of about 7 percent of the power that comes out of Bonneville Dam.

Baker says his group will appeal the decision in Thurston County Superior Court within the next 30 days.

On the Web:

Gov. Gregoire’s statement:

http://governor.wa.gov/news/news-view.asp?pressRelease=1869&newsType=1

Whistling Ridge Energy Project:

http://whistlingridgeenergy.com/site/

Friends of the Columbia Gorge:

http://www.gorgefriends.org/section.php?id=56

Source:  Ashley Ahearn, Northwest News Network, opb.org 5 March 2012

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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