Washington, Wind Energy, Whistling Ridge
4:34 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Gregoire Approves Controversial Columbia Gorge Wind Facility

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has approved the Whistling Ridge Wind Energy Project in Southern Washington.

But some people object because the project will be visible from I-84 in the scenic Columbia Gorge.

And it could threaten spotted owls. They've been seen within two miles of the site in the past year.

Nathan Baker is the staff attorney with Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

Nathan Baker: “Some places should be off limits to industrial wind development and we believe that the Columbia river Gorge is one of those places. Most people are in favor of renewable energy but they’re not aware of all the negative costs and impacts from wind energy. ”

The governor's approval means 35 turbines, each over 400 feet tall, could be built in timberland near the town of Underwood, Washington.

At maximum capacity Whistling Ridge Project will produce 75 megawatts of power. That’s the equivalent of about 7 percent of the power that comes out of Bonneville Dam.

Baker says his group will appeal the decision in Thurston County Superior Court within the next 30 days.