Could the beautiful views of Horse Heaven Hills be replaced with 240 Space Needles? To put this into better context, each windmill would be approximately 500 feet, only 20 feet shorter than the Space Needle's observation deck.

The Washington State Energy Site Evaluation Council has given a land-use approval to a controversial proposed wind turbine farm in the Horse Heaven Hills area.

  Council votes 7-1 to approve the land use

The Council, which is tasked with granting approval throughout the state for proposed energy projects, announced Wednesday PM they had voted to approve what's called the land-use proposal. From the council information released Wednesday:

"Under the Benton County Code, the Facility meets the definitions of a “solar power generation facility, major” and a “wind turbine farm.”

"The Facility Site is on land zoned GMAAD, an area of Benton County primarily dedicated for agricultural uses. However, major solar power generation facilities and wind turbine farms are conditionally permitted in the GMAAD." (GMAAD is the Growth Management Act Agricultural District).

 "The Applicant has met its burden of proof of demonstrating that the site is consistent and in compliance with Benton County’s Comprehensive Plan and applicable zoning ordinances in effect as of the date of the application as required ."

And finally:

"Scout Clean Energy’s application is consistent and in compliance with local land use plans and zoning regulations."

  Despite the objections of Benton County and other stakeholders (parties who are directly involved in or affected by this project), the Council approved the land use.This means the next steps or processes can begin.

Get our free mobile app

This does not take into account potential litigation or suits filed by interested parties, but it's a big hurdle for the wind farm.  If it is built to original plans, there could be as many as 240 massive turbines stretching down the 'spine' of the Horse Heaven Hills from Finley all way past southwest Kennewick. Hundreds of people voiced opposition to the idea at a public hearing and throughout the process. Even the Benton PUD 

 Inslee loves the idea

During a February visit to the Mid-Columbia to look at 'clean' or green energy products Gov. Inslee voiced his approval of such a plan, critics say he and other legislators are OK with building them on the East side because then they don't have to 'look at them.'--miles and miles of giant pinwheels dotting the landscape.

LOOK: The most expensive weather and climate disasters in recent decades

Stacker ranked the most expensive climate disasters by the billions since 1980 by the total cost of all damages, adjusted for inflation, based on 2021 data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The list starts with Hurricane Sally, which caused $7.3 billion in damages in 2020, and ends with a devastating 2005 hurricane that caused $170 billion in damage and killed at least 1,833 people. Keep reading to discover the 50 of the most expensive climate disasters in recent decades in the U.S.