We are in a battle to save the Horse Heaven Hills from a huge wind turbine project.
The Horse Heaven Hills Wind project is huge - it stretches over 25 miles west to east and eight mile north to south, from south of Benton City all the way to Finley.
Up to 231 turbines 496-foot-high turbines or 150 turbines`671-foot-high turbines will cause significant environmental, health and safety issues along with negative impacts on agriculture, the wineries, tourism, real estate values and the local economy.
Tri-Cities C.A.R.E.S. is dedicated to educating the public and working with local governments and organizations to protect the interests of the citizens who will be impacted by this project.
Petition Letter in Opposition to the Horse Heaven Hills Wind Farm Project
To: Governor Jay Inslee and the voting members of the Energy Facilities Siting Evaluation Council
We, the residents, homeowners, business owners, and visitors of the Tri-Cities and vicinity (stakeholders) oppose the Horse Heaven Hills Wind Farm Project.
This industrial scale wind farm is being presented as green, clean, and beneficial. However, there is ample evidence that this is simply not true.
This huge and poorly sited project will have significant negative impacts on wildlife, cultural resources, real estate and property values, tourism, air quality, public safety, and the growth and development of local and regional economies.
We ask that the responsible parties deny the Site Certification.
Why This Petition Matters
Issues Affecting Local Communities
- The project fails to meet the state’s legislative requirement “to provide abundant clean energy at reasonable cost,” in RCW 80.50.010.
- The project is too close to the Tri-Cities, the 3rd largest and fastest growing metro area in the state with over 300,000 residents, and is just 2 to 4 miles from residential communities and urban growth areas.
- About 40 percent are people of color and many do not speak English. To date, the environmental documentation has only been offered in English creating a disparate impact on these residents.
Scope, Size, and Design Issues
- This is the largest wind project ever proposed in Washington State. It is 25 miles long and covers 113 square miles.
- The project is unnecessarily overbuilt at 1150 MW. The BPA grid is currently capable of handling up to 850 MW of power.
- The largely intermittent power generated by this project is not needed in the Tri-Cities, will likely be distributed outside our region and result in increased rates.
- Turbines will operate at an estimated maximum of only 25 to 30% efficiency.
- The project fails to take a cradle to grave approach to identify the actual carbon footprint. Accurate costs and impacts are not being identified and evaluated.
- Disposal of turbine blades - having only a 15 to 25-year lifespan – leaving a large volume of non-recyclable blades in landfills.
- The proposed 231, 496-foot-tall wind turbines will tower from 1000 to 2,500 feet above the valley floor. They will become a dominant highly visible eye sore in the entire region.
- This will change the visual image and natural beauty reputation of the Tri-Cities from rural and natural to one dominated by an extraordinarily large energy industrial complex.
- The wind turbines will be visible to visitors and by over 300,000 people who live in Benton City, West Richland, Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Finley.
- Property appraisal experts warn that the visual impacts are likely to trigger 20 to 30 percent reductions in property values.
Impacts to Wildlife & Cultural Resources
- There are significant negative impacts to wildlife habitat and ecological connectivity, the pronghorn antelope, birds, bats, the endangered ferruginous hawk, sandhill cranes, and other at-risk species.
- The project interferes with Yakama Nation cultural resources and religious rights due to the destruction and desecration of sacred sites.
Impacts on Public Safety and Health
- People living within 2 miles of wind turbines are at risk of experiencing health issues due to dust, noise, vibrations, and shadow flicker.
- There is no identified source of water to control fugitive dust from over 100 miles of newly constructed gravel roads resulting in unhealthy air quality.
- The project will create a 25 mile long “no fly zone” that prevents the use of aerial firefighting technology that is relied upon to protect thousands of acres of adjacent land from repeated periodic fast moving range fires.
- Runaway fires at the proposed 18 acres of lithium-ion battery facilities have the potential to cause large-scale evacuations in Tri-Cities. The current fire response protocol is to simply let them burn.
Impacts on Recreation, Tourism and Regional Economies
- Close turbine proximity to the Horse Heaven Recreation area puts users in danger.
- The project overstates the number of temporary jobs in the one year of construction, with only 15-20 full-time permanent positions during operation.
- Property tax benefits to Benton County are overstated and do not take economic tradeoffs, such as land value property taxes and other negative impacts into account.
- The project causes incalculable cumulative impacts on recreation, local agriculture and the wine industries on Red Mountain and in the Columbia Basin.
- There is resounding local community opposition to the project.
The negative impacts of this project clearly outweigh the benefits. The project impacts cannot be mitigated through careful planning, proper siting, and regulatory measures.
The Project is not right for the Tri-Cities, the region, and the State of Washington.
For all these reasons, we the undersigned, state our formal opposition to the Horse Heaven Hills Wind Project and request that the Site Certification be denied.
Can you help?
The Stop the Horse Heaven Hills Wind Farm Project petition to Southeastern Washington was written by Paul Krupin and is in the category Government at GoPetition.