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Lewis County commissioners toss windmill hearing; Ordinance will not move forward  

Credit:  Lewis County Commissioners Toss Windmill Hearing; Ordinance Will Not Move Forward | By Isabel Vander Stoep | The Chronicle | Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | www.chronline.com ~~

For the foreseeable future, Lewis County will not be getting a new wind farm in the Willapa Hills.

A public hearing by the Board of Lewis County Commissioners (BOCC) on a proposed code change allowing research on windmills will no longer be held, with the commissioners to let the ordinance die instead of voting on it.

If it had been passed, the ordinance would have amended county land use designation, allowing a company called Scout Clean Energy to conduct research on Weyerhaeuser land south of Baw Faw Peak in the Willapa Hills to determine if wind energy production is viable.

Lewis County Commissioner Lindsey Pollock presents on potential county code change that would allow for research on windmills to a packed Baw Faw Grange earlier this month. Isabel Vander Stoep

A hearing on the ordinance was originally scheduled for Sept. 20, ahead of which Commissioner Lindsey Pollock held a meeting at the Baw Faw Grange rallying her constituents to appear and express opposition at the hearing. Several gripes with the ordinance listed by Pollock and residents at her meeting included obstruction of views and scenery, bird deaths, disapproval that the potential wind farm would not provide energy to Lewis County specifically and a loss of “local control,” she said, because the permitting process for energy projects goes to the state rather than the county.

After that meeting, the hearing on the ordinance was moved to Oct. 4. But on Wednesday the commissioners unanimously voted to not hold a hearing on the topic, therefore not voting for or against the ordinance and keeping the code as it stands now.

Commissioner Sean Swope noted on Wednesday that he feels Pollock has been indiscriminately against any new type of energy projects after she voiced concerns with a potential hydrogen facility at TransAlta and is now rallying against the construction of windmills.

“We do need electricity and we need to plan for future generations. I will state what Commissioner (Lee) Grose said, I’m not a big fan of seeing windmills either when you look out towards Mount Rainier, but I do want us to take an honest look at what we would consider (for) something that we want in our community for power generation,” Swope said. “It’s not going to be perfect but we’re going to have to concede at some point.”

Community development staff said Wednesday the record would be easier to understand for future commissioners if the BOCC held the hearing and then voted against the code change. However, Pollock simply asked for very “detailed minutes” to be added to the information on the ordinance as Swope said it should be no different than letting a bill “die in committee” in the state Legislature.

Source:  Lewis County Commissioners Toss Windmill Hearing; Ordinance Will Not Move Forward | By Isabel Vander Stoep | The Chronicle | Posted Wednesday, September 28, 2022 | www.chronline.com

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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