Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is pressing forward with Green agenda items that favor Seattle and California over rural eastern Washington residents.
Wind farms are expected to be approved in rural, eastern Washington despite strong local opposition.
Horse Heaven Hills, an agricultural community outside of Tri-cities, Washington is the latest site coveted by Gov. Jay Inslee, a strong proponent of government favors for green energy companies.
Local community members have voiced concerns about the project for many months, KEPR reports. A survey shows 82-85 percent of residents do not want wind turbines in the area.
Scout Clean Energy submitted an application to use the site in February of 2021. The company wants to place 244 wind turbines, three battery arrays, and three energy storage systems on the rolling hills and landscape.
Wind turbines would cover 10 square miles, standing 500 feet tall, with some at 670 feet. At the latter height they would be 60 feet higher than Seattle’s famous space needle, MSN reports.
The proposed project is in Benton County. Benton Product Utility District Commissioner Barry Bush expressed concerns about the project in an opinion piece he wrote as a private citizen. Bush says the governor refuses to listen to the locals who will be affected by the project.
“The Governor clearly does not care what we think,” Barry Bush writes for National Wind Watch. “Almost every local political entity has come out against the Horse Heaven Hills project. Not one has come out in support. Over 80% of the population is against the project. He simply does not value our opinion. If he did, he would have met with the city councils and electric utilities that oppose this project. He simply does not understand that the Horse Heaven Hills are our Yellowstone, and are valued as much to us as Mount Rainier is to Western Washington,” Bush writes.
In March, Inslee vetoed an energy bill that would have given eastern Washington residents the right to provide input on this and other energy-related projects, The Chronicle reports.
House Bill 1812 included a provision allowing a voice from eastern Washington when wind or solar projects are proposed in that region. The sections of the bill Inslee opposed require agency review of economic assistance and payments for those whose views would be affected by the projects, The Chronicle reports.
Most of the energy produced in the eastern Washington location would be sent to western Washington places such as Seattle, and possibly to California.
“Why do those who live in western Washington think it is permissible to destroy the eastern Washington environment in order to satisfy their insatiable thirst for more energy?” Bush writes.
Two Republican state representatives added the provisions in the bill protecting eastern Washington interests. Without that protection, Seattle voters can consistently outweigh the desires of the rural community members in the east.
“It opens the floodgates for big out-of-state energy corporations to swoop into these small, rural, economically disadvantaged communities and offer leases at a fraction of the value of the agricultural land to struggling farmers and landowners,” state Rep. Mary Dye (R-Pomeroy) told The Chronicle.
“We asked for a study to show the true costs and benefits, and the governor’s vetoes show we were right to be skeptical,” state Rep. Mark Klicker (R-Walla Walla) told the newspaper.
In April of this year, the Washington State Building Codes Council proposed a ban on nonelectric space and water heating for all residential buildings, The Center Square reports. The council has already implemented the ban on commercial buildings.
Natural gas, baseboard heaters, wall heaters, radiant heat systems, and electric furnaces are violations of the new law.
This statewide ban is like the one the city of Seattle enacted in 2021.
Critics stated an unelected council does not have the authority to make these rules, which constitute an end run around the legislature, The Center Square reports.
The council consists of Inslee appointees. Without input from the legislature, no Republican is included in these decisions.
“I’m very frustrated with the fact that it was the Building Code Council that decided this,” state Sen. Lynda Wilson, (R-Vancouver), told KING 5 News. “They are unelected and unaccountable to the public.”
The governor’s passion for climate policy is well-known. Inslee ran for president in the 2020 Democratic primaries, focusing his campaign on climate change. Inslee called the Green New Deal “aspirational” and publicly declared his intention to create his own green agenda.
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