Bill 'slowing down' massive wind farms clears State House (Rep Mark Klicker-GOP)
Bill 'slowing down' massive wind farms clears State House (Rep Mark Klicker-GOP)


An amendment, in this case, is nearly as good as the original.

State House passes bill giving more local control over energy projects

WA State House Rep Mark Klicker (R-Walla Walla) had proposed HB (house bill) 1871 during this latest legislative session. It would have required the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to prepare a report (due by this fall) on how there is a lack of equity or fairness in locating massive energy projects, namely wind farms, in Eastern WA.

The bill would have placed a moratorium on such massive wind projects, like the one proposed for the Horse Heaven Hills, until the report was finished. Klicker and other GOP leaders say the state is unfairly 'dumping' these often unsightly and even environmentally dangerous (to birds) projects all over the wide-open spaces on the Eastside.  HB 1871 had a hearing, but did NOT get a vote in the House.

However, it's still alive.

 Most of HB 1871 is in new Amendment that will slow down projects

Much of what was in that bill was included as an amendment to House Bill 1812, which overwhelmingly passed the State House. According to Klicker:

"The Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) must consult with stakeholders from rural communities, agriculture, and forestry to gain a better understanding of the benefits and impacts of anticipated changes in the state's energy system, including the siting of facilities under the jurisdiction of the EFSEC, and to identify risks and opportunities for rural communities."

In layman's terms the EFSEC will legally have to hold public comment sessions, invite input from citizens, business, local leaders and local environmental groups BEFORE deciding where to place these energy projects.

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This legislation is in direct response, in part, to the massive Scout Energy wind farm project that would have put several hundred turbines down the spine of the Horse Heaven Hills.  It was met with tremendous resistance earlier from citizens, leaders, and even local utility companies. 

HB 1812 now heads to the Senate, considering the huge margin of passing in the House, it's likely to pass the senior chamber. We will be watching.

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