RALSTON – A month after vetoing sections affirming local input into development of solar and wind farms, Gov. Jay Inslee tried last week to put a positive spin on his move.
The governor spent part of Wednesday, April 20, at Rattlesnake Flats Wind Farm north of Washtucna, in the heart of the 9th Legislative District represented by Sen. Mark Schoesler, and Reps. Mary Dye and Joe Schmick.
Inslee’s visit coincided with Earth Week.
Rattlesnake Flats includes 57 wind turbines, according to Clearway Energy Group, which developed the wind farm.
Dye and Schoesler have been vocal opponents of Inslee’s so-called “renewable” energy policies.
Dye called the governor’s Earth Day appearances photo ops.
“While the president and Gov. Inslee are using Earth Day for photo opportunities and media attention, I’m concerned they may be forgetting what really matters to the people of the state of Washington on this day,” Dye said.
Dye was referencing President Biden’s visit to Seattle and Gov. Inslee’s appearance in Eastern Washington.
Last month, Dye took Inslee to task over his potentially illegal veto of sections 19-22 of House Bill 1812 establishing an independent evaluation committee to review the impact of solar and wind farms on rural communities.
Prior to the veto of those sections, the bill also required a cost analysis of the energy benefits of solar and wind farms compared to the aesthetic damages and loss of agricultural jobs over a 30-year window before construction could begin.
In voicing her concerns last month, Dye noted the problems nearby Lind now faces due to development of the largest solar farm in the state.
“That is prime farmland in a location above the town that could have been part of the economic growth story for the entire region,” Dye said previously.
The governor and his administration have come under fire for pushing wind and solar farms east of the Cascades, but not in their own backyards in Western Washington.
Last year, Tri-Cities area residents and leaders turned out for a Kennewick meeting to oppose the proposed Horse Heaven Wind Farm, which would have located more turbines on Horse Heaven Hills.
There, speakers called the proposed wind farm an “eyesore” and “grotesque,” among other things.
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