BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – Community members and local experts gathered to discuss their concerns about the Horse Heaven Wind Farm planned in Benton County.
During the Horse Heaven Informational Meeting and Land Use Hearing on Tuesday night, hundreds of Tri-Citians made sure that Scout Clean Energy understood their concerns. Some are concerned that the windmills will be an eyesore that damages the beautiful views of the region. Others are concerned about the effect on local wildlife including Eastern Washington’s bird population.
Farmers expressed concern about how waste from the turbines would damage the natural resources of the area.
A representative of Save Our Ridges, Barry Bush wants Scout to consider the perspective of the community.
“They haven’t taken into consideration, you know, the people of the Tri-Cities. We care about the community and we’re willing to fight to save our way of living,” Bush said. “If they have a heart and they actually listen to the community like they say they want to, they’ll pull this project. The community does not want or need this project. It’s in the wrong location.”
KAPP-KVEW’s Ellie Nakamoto-White spoke to Javon Smith with Scout Clean Energy about their plans for the project.
“We heard feedback from members of the local community again who were perceiving that the expedited review process would somehow limit public involvement,” Smith said. “We did take that to heart. It is important to us to be a long term partner in the community.”
This article has been updated to provide additional context based on new information and reporting from KAPP-KVEW’s news team. Below is the initial article published on Tuesday afternoon.
BENTON COUNTY, Wash. – Public outcry against the Horse Heaven Wind Farm renewable energy facility proposed just south of the Tri-Cities led the group behind it to withdraw a request for expedited processing.
According to a press release issued by Scout Clean Energy, or “Scout” for short, the organization previously submitted a request to speed up processing from the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC). Many local organizations, including Save Our Ridges, have been vocal in their opposition to the project.
The Lead Project Manager of the Horse Heaven Wind Farm, Dave Kobus, said the following about the public response:
“Scout completed a robust Environmental Checklist as part of our application materials, and were confident our project met the criteria for expedited review,” Kobus said. “However, we received feedback that some members of the local community were concerned the process may limit public involvement, and took that to heart,” he added.
“To ensure a robust environmental review with full participation by interested residents and stakeholders, we have notified EFSEC of our willingness to pursue a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)”, said Kobus.
Previously, the team behind Horse Heaven Wind Farm attempted to skip a preliminary review from the EIS and went straight for a review from the EFSEC.
In response to the public outrage from Tri-Citians, a Public Information Meeting is being held virtually on March 30 at 5:00 p.m. There, concerned citizens will be allowed to express their issues to Scout officials and EFSEC staff.
In speaking with KAPP-KVEW’s Madeleine Hagen, Barry Bush with Save Our Ridges expressed that the 1150 MW renewable energy facility is “not wanted and it’s not needed.”
Those interested in participating can do so by clicking here. Community members will real concerns can also call in to (360) 407-3810. Additionally, Scout provided the following ID number for the meeting: 6702140.
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