Article

EFSEC member: review process flawed; Ian Elliot wants state to do better

Ian Elliot wanted to raise the issue of turbine density in the state's review of the Desert Claim Wind Power Project, but couldn't. The issue wasn't officially entered into evidence by an intervener in the Desert Claim review process, nor was there any expert testimony, studies or other data submitted on the issue by an intervener or the project applicant. ..."I believe the process is flawed because the rights of the local citizens and the obligations of EFSEC do not align," Elliot stated

KITTITAS COUNTY- Ian Elliot wanted to raise the issue of turbine density in the state's review of the Desert Claim Wind Power Project, but couldn't.

The issue wasn't officially entered into evidence by an intervener in the Desert Claim review process, nor was there any expert testimony, studies or other data submitted on the issue by an intervener or the project applicant.

For Elliot, a resident of the Kittitas Valley, that situation reflects what he believes is a flaw in the review process used by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC.

Elliot, a former state legislator, was appointed to EFSEC by county commissioners to represent Kittitas County.
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"I believe the process is flawed because the rights of the local citizens and the obligations of EFSEC do not align," Elliot stated in the EFSEC order signed Nov. 16 that recommends the governor approve the 95-turbine Desert Claim project.

Limits

Elliot said the state council's quasi-judicial review process, with courtroom-like rules, limits the land-use issues that can be brought up to those officially submitted as evidence into the record by an intervener or the applicant.

He said when the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

KITTITAS COUNTY- Ian Elliot wanted to raise the issue of turbine density in the state's review of the Desert Claim Wind Power Project, but couldn't.

The issue wasn't officially entered into evidence by an intervener in the Desert Claim review process, nor was there any expert testimony, studies or other data submitted on the issue by an intervener or the project applicant.

For Elliot, a resident of the Kittitas Valley, that situation reflects what he believes is a flaw in the review process used by the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC.

Elliot, a former state legislator, was appointed to EFSEC by county commissioners to represent Kittitas County.
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"I believe the process is flawed because the rights of the local citizens and the obligations of EFSEC do not align," Elliot stated in the EFSEC order signed Nov. 16 that recommends the governor approve the 95-turbine Desert Claim project.

Limits

Elliot said the state council's quasi-judicial review process, with courtroom-like rules, limits the land-use issues that can be brought up to those officially submitted as evidence into the record by an intervener or the applicant.

He said when the county's land-use rules are pre-empted by EFSEC in the review process, as they were in the Desert Claim review, then "issues of law take precedence over the issues of the project and how those issues affect the local citizen or landowner."

Elliot said EFSEC and state government have "done a poor job of informing the citizens of their rights under pre-emption and how their input can affect the outcome."

He said it has not been clearly explained that those with concerns with a project need to formally file early on in the process with EFSEC as an intervener.

This gives interveners' arguments, concerns, evidence and expert testimony and studies more legal weight than what is stated only as an opinion at a general public hearing by citizens who are not interveners.

Why get involved?

Elliot acknowledged that organizations and groups with some financial backing often can better afford to become interveners in the EFSEC process with all the required legal briefs and meetings, as opposed to an individual citizen speaking at an EFSEC public hearing.

"They (EFSEC members) consider general public comments in hearings as non-expert testimony," Elliot said. "I consider the hearings a placebo to the general public who haven't been fully informed on the process."

As a result, there is an "accumulative effect" on local citizens after attending multiple EFSEC meetings, Elliot said.

"The vast majority of the local populace has taken the attitude, 'What difference does it make? They are going to approve the project anyway; why bother to get involved?'" Elliot wrote.

He wanted EFSEC to address what he believed to be too high a density of turbines in the Desert Claim project and the visual effect as perceived by local residents of multiple turbines on relatively flat terrain.

Elliot said he couldn't bring the issues up because they hadn't been officially brought up in the formal adjudication record.

"Adequate safeguards and flexibility are required to protect the local interests after pre-emption," Elliot wrote.


Source: http://www.kvnews.com/artic...

NOV 21 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/23228-efsec-member-review-process-flawed-ian-elliot-wants-state-to-do-better
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