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Newhouse to Inslee: Local voices must be heard on massive wind farm concerns  

Credit:  Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) | March 25, 2021 | newhouse.house.gov ~~

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) sent a letter to Governor Inslee and the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council urging state officials to listen to the local concerns with the recent Horse Heaven Wind Farm Application (ASC) for Site Certification in Benton County.

“It has been brought to my attention that the applicant, Horse Heaven Wind Farm, LLC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Scout Clean Energy LLC, submitted their ASC directly to the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council,” wrote Rep. Newhouse. “In doing so, they have effectively bypassed the local government and limited the amount of direct involvement my constituents have regarding the consideration of a project that is being planned in their backyard.”

In the letter, Rep. Newhouse highlights the robust, all-of-the-above, clean energy portfolio Central Washington has. He also points to several concerns about the Horse Heaven Wind Farm he has heard from local communities, including overcrowding the current energy market, disrupting the region’s natural landscape, and threatening economic development and the Tri-Cities tourism industry.

He concludes, “In our nation’s capital, I work to ensure the federal government listens to the voices of local communities in its decision-making. The same effort must apply here for our state government. Upon hearing the concerns of residents in the Tri-Cities region, I respectfully request that you give due consideration to all parties involved in this Project and ensure the voices of the local communities who would be most impacted are listened to by our state officials.”

The Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council will be holding a public meeting at 5 PM PST on March 30 to discuss the Horse Heaven Wind Farm proposal. It will be held online via Skype at www.bit.ly/EFSECmeetingHH and also will have telephone access at 360-407-3810. The meeting ID is 6702140#.

Officials will be available to answer questions from 5 to 5:30 p.m., followed by a presentation and then a public hearing. To sign up to provide comment, you can call 360-664-1345 before the meeting or email comments to efsec@utc.wa.gov.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Governor Inslee:

I write today on behalf of the people of the 4th Congressional District to express significant concerns with the Application for Site Certification (ASC) for the Horse Heaven Wind Farm (Project) in Benton County.

It has been brought to my attention that the applicant, Horse Heaven Wind Farm, LLC, a fully-owned subsidiary of Scout Clean Energy LLC, submitted their ASC directly to the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council. In doing so, they have effectively bypassed the local government and limited the amount of direct involvement my constituents have regarding the consideration of a project that is being planned in their backyard. 

Residents in the Tri-Cities have raised substantive concerns with the proposed Project, including the fact that local utilities have already expressed no need or desire to take on new wind generation in their portfolios. Central Washington is proud of our clean energy leadership. From our clean, renewable hydroelectric generation and hosting the Pacific Northwest’s only nuclear generation station – a carbon-free source of baseload power – to being home of the state’s largest solar farm, we are at the forefront of an all-of-the-above clean energy deployment strategy. This includes existing wind and biomass sources of energy production.

Meanwhile, the scientists in our community researching grid storage capabilities at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are leading the nation – and the world – in next-generation energy storage technology research and development. All of these efforts demonstrate a comprehensive and concerted effort to continue building upon our region’s energy leadership and dominance – not for show or for symbolism or because it feels good for others outside our region, but because they are the right solutions for a secure energy future.

Additionally, the scale of this proposed Project would place a colossal impact on our natural landscape. We are blessed with a profoundly unique geologic history, shaped and contoured by the great Ice Age Floods. Our region’s defining characteristics include our rolling hills, steep slopes, and majestic skyline views including Mounts Adams, Rainier, and Hood. Many are rightly concerned about the impacts of placing hundreds of structures the size of the Space Needle across our skylines. Their concerns must not be ignored.

These facets of our environment not only contribute to our rural and natural character, but they also greatly drive Central Washington’s economic development and tourism sector – particularly in light of our world-class wine industry. According to Visit Tri-Cities, in 2019, tourism generated more than $560 million and created more than 6,300 jobs in Benton and Franklin counties. Before the pandemic, the Tri-Cities’ regional economy was the fastest growing in the state due, in part, to our thriving local business sector and the good-paying jobs that attract families and workers from across the country. As our local businesses and economies recover from the impacts of the pandemic, we should continue to encourage long-term investments and lasting job creation in our communities.

In our nation’s capital, I work to ensure the federal government listens to the voices of local communities in its decision-making. The same effort must apply here for our state government. Upon hearing the concerns of residents in the Tri-Cities region, I respectfully request that you give due consideration to all parties involved in this Project and ensure the voices of the local communities who would be most impacted are listened to by our state officials.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

 

###

Source:  Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) | March 25, 2021 | newhouse.house.gov

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.

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