Library filed under Impact on People from Washington
But residents who love rural Washington’s bright open spaces deserve better than a “get used to it” scolding as their landscape changes. The transitions to channel sunshine and canyon winds into the power grid must be managed with sensitivity. The shift to cleaner energy is too essential to lose progress to a deepening cultural clash.
Opponents have gained the most traction in rural neighborhoods, like the one west of Goldendale near the Hansons’ property, where some large farms have been subdivided into smaller tracts of land, attracting an influx of retirees and others who don’t want to see nearby landscapes transformed by solar panels. Fierce debates over solar siting also have erupted in other areas of the country, stretching from Virginia to Indiana to California.
The results show overwhelming opposition to the project, with 78 percent of respondents expressing that the Horse Heaven Wind Project is not worth the personal, environmental, and economic impacts on the community (view results below), Survey data also reveals community concerns regarding the level of impact that specific Horse Heaven Wind Project outcomes (such as viewshed, turbine disposal, wildlife, etc.) will have on the region.
A moratorium on energy siting is critical here for tourism’s development. A statewide vision of tourism’s future and the long-term economic welfare of our communities is at stake.
When the developer that sold the Tudors their $500,000 home and acreage proposed an 80-turbine wind farm on nearby land, the couple were shocked. "We're devastated that our developer, after creating this pristine residential community, now aims to spoil our scenery with monstrous wind turbines," the Tudors wrote.
The 15 turbines that the council recommended removing included seven that would have loomed over the community of Underwood, Wash., and eight of the 29 turbines that would be visible to motorists entering Hood River on I-84 westbound. ... the turbines in question would be "impermissibly intrusive into the scenic vista," and that there was no way to mitigate against those impacts.
"We're encouraged that the council was concerned about scenic impacts, but this decision does not go far enough," Baker said. "It would reduce the number of turbines but there would still be several turbines breaking the skyline with flashing lights and moving blades."
"All the clause says is that the developer is to ‘give highest priority to increase the distance.' So long as the developer says ‘well, we tried, but this is the best we can do' there is no way to move forward on an enforcement action because the developer has satisfied all that the clause requires. Simply speaking, the clause the governor added sounds good, but means virtually nothing."
Cap-and-trade schemes could hurt families and send jobs overseas The recently passed U.S. House bill to create a cap-and-trade system to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions threatens to hurt families and send jobs out of the country, argues Washington state Rep. Shelly Short, R-Addy. In Washington state, the definition of 'green jobs' is ill defined.
A National Park Service official says a wind project proposed for a Skamania County site just outside the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area would intrude on the experiences of people traveling two national historic trails. Both the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and the Oregon Pioneer Historic Trail pass through the Gorge, and both also pass within five miles of where turbines would rise at the Whistling Ridge Wind Project, said Rory D. Westberg, the Park Service's deputy regional director for planning and resource management.
Wind turbines may supply power without pollution but they are also generating complaints about noise and even possible health effects for people who live near them. Dan Williams says the 240-foot-tall turbines he can see from his hilltop home near Boardman in Eastern Oregon make so much noise they keep him awake at night.
A proposed wind farm development Washington is creating some controversy. While the plan is still in the very early stages, the designers envision placing wind turbines on a ridge near Larch Mountain, east of Battle Ground. ...A proposed wind farm development Washington is creating some controversy. While the plan is still in the very early stages, the designers envision placing wind turbines on a ridge near Larch Mountain, east of Battle Ground.
It would be a lot easier to choose up sides in the Columbia Gorge wind farm disputes if the capitalists wanted to dig open pit mines or put up oil derricks and extract resources from the land and then truck or pipe them away for decades to come, risking erosion, spills or explosions. If that were the case, it would be easier to spew venom and spread fear about money-grubbing, land-raping operations planned along the border of the nation's first national scenic area. ...[T]he scenic area was created almost 22 years ago, and by now its protection ought to be a sacred duty and universal desire. We should be beyond the point of nibbling around the edges of the law and violating its spirit. Erecting giant towers, seven of which would be partly visible from parts of the gorge floor, seems a violation of that spirit.
Eight years ago, when my wife and I bought a 28-acre farm on the serene and beautiful Tucannon River near Dayton, we had no idea we were in the crosshairs of wind tower developers. Later, despite being told we would not see the towers, we now look out our dining room window at 43 wind turbines. About 14 miles northeast of Dayton, where Highway 12 crosses the Tucannon River, you start to see the desecration that the wind projects have wrought.
When Kittitas County approved the Wildhorse wind farm, Gregoire said the project would be the model for future projects because they have local government and citizen approval. She apparently changed models and lied to her constituents. Her decision places all counties' ability to make land-use decisions at risk. It reeks of totalitarianism, doesn't it?
SDS Lumber Co. plans to apply for a permit before year's end to build a wind farm in Skamania County that would produce up to 70 megawatts of power. The project would be on a north-south ridge at elevations of 2,000 to 2,200 feet between Underwood Mountain and Whistling Ridge. The remote property lies east of the old mill town of Willard and about a mile north of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area boundary. ...Dennis White, an environmental activist who lives in the Klickitat County community of Husum, said a regional discussion needs to take place about the cumulative effects of wind generation facilities in the Columbia Gorge. "Wherever there's a BPA line, we're going to have these wind farms just outside the scenic area, up and down the gorge," White said.
No one expects big infrastructure projects to drop in smoothly. From runways to sewer plants, these things often have negative spillover effects - traffic, noise or appearance. No one wants them. And while the nuisances may not be trivial, neither should they be determinative. While the downside impacts tend to be extremely local, the benefits generally extend well beyond the region. Politically, that creates a difficult dynamic. Local politicians have little to gain by supporting projects opposed by their constituents. And the diffuse benefit rarely translates to the kind of political pressure generated by those who are affected adversely.
Setback requirements are a protection of the public health, safety and individual property rights - not a yardstick of a project's economic success. The people who have the most experience with commercial wind power today are the Europeans. They are saying that a minimum of one mile from residences and any turbine should be imposed to protect the public. But the bigger issue here is that our locally elected officials denied the project as designed and the governor believes she should override local land use authority based on how much more money Horizon can make.
What EnXco Inc. in 2005 said it would do after Kittitas County rejected its wind farm north of Ellensburg it did Monday: the wind power development company filed a downsized wind farm proposal with the state in hopes to get better treatment and possible approval.
3.8 Health & Safety Affected Environment, Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures "A number of comments submitted for the scoping process for the Desert Claim project EIS addressed concerns relating to potential health and safety issues. Specific topics indicated in these comments included certain possible hazards that are uniquely associated with wind turbines, such as blade throw and ice throw; health and safety issues associated with electrical and magnetic fields; more common hazards such as fire; and the incidence and impacts of shadow flicker, another phenomenon specific to wind turbines. Section 3.8 addresses these wide-ranging health and safety topics that have been identified as concerns for the environmental review. "