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Public opinion survey results and chamber position RE: Horse Heaven Wind Project  

Credit:  April 22, 2021 - Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce ~~

Dear Governor Inslee and Chair Drew,

As the fifth largest chamber in the state, with a Board of Directors representing 37 businesses ranging from sole proprietors to the largest employers in Benton and Franklin Counties, the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce (TCRCC) recently responded to the concerns of community stakeholders and Tri-Citians by engaging the region in a Public Opinion Survey to determine community sentiment regarding the Horse Heaven Wind Project and to identify issues of greatest interest and concern.

The three-question survey elicited 2,220 responses over a two-week period. Results show considerable opposition (78.5%) to the Horse Heaven Wind project. The principal reason is because the negative environmental impacts of the project are believed to far exceed the potential benefits. According to survey results, the top five areas of greatest negative impact include:

  • Viewshed – Destruction of a wide swath of the natural land and view scape
  • Decommissioning and Turbine Disposal – Waste disposal problems
  • Tourism – Obstructed views are detrimental to tourism
  • Birds and Wildlife – Obstructed migratory bird path and wildlife damage
  • Flashing Lights – Light pollution via red, flashing, aviation warning lights at night

Also, 80% of survey respondents think local government (Benton County) should be part of the Horse Heaven Wind Project approval process. Survey comments on this topic reflect differing levels of frustration that the voice of the community is not being heard or considered on a local project – especially one that has such great regional impact. For these reasons, the Chamber requests that EFSEC include Benton County in any decision-making regarding the Horse Heaven Wind Project.

And finally, survey participants voiced overwhelming opposition to the Horse Heaven Wind Project with over 78% of responses indicating that the project was not worth the personal, environmental, and economic impacts the project would have on the region.

The Chamber fully supports the development of clean energy. Our region is the beneficiary of abundant hydroelectric and nuclear power production. This project, however, would not displace carbon-based energy production but would only compete with already-clean sources. Also, our commitment to the community includes creating a vibrant and thriving quality of life for all Tri-Citians. The Chamber’s efforts to enhance livability, draw new talent and attract new business to the Tri-Cities begins with protecting and preserving our most valuable asset – the beautiful and expansive vistas and views.

For these reasons, the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce urges you to respect the voice of the local community by not approving the development of the Horse Heaven Wind Project.

Thank you for your consideration.


Lori Mattson, IOM
President & CEO, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce

Jim Arneson
President, Community First Bank
Chair, Local Government Affairs Committee

Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002

EFSEC Chair, Kathleen Drew
State of WA Energy Facility Site Evaluation Committee
621 Woodland Square Loop SE
PO Box 43172
Olympia, WA 98504-3172

cc: Scout Energy, Benton County Commission, Benton PUD

Source:  April 22, 2021 - Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce

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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