This year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
While Oregon and Washington are celebrating 25 years of protecting this national scenic treasure, the Washington State Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council has quietly recommended that Gov. Chris Gregoire approve a massive wind energy development in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge near White Salmon. The scenic forested ridge line along the boundary of the scenic area would be marred by 35 massive turbines over 425 feet tall. The proposal would likely kill thousands of birds and is located in an area designated for protection of the endangered Northern spotted owl. Most of the areas’ residents are opposed to the project due to the impacts of construction, noise, visual blight and the negative impact to property values.
The project isn’t even needed at this time. Right now there is a glut of wind energy in the Northwest, so much that the BPA has had to limit wind energy production to avoid overloading the grid. And the project would have a negligible benefit to the local economy, producing only nine permanent jobs.
Gregoire should deny this project. There are many more suitable locations for wind energy development in Washington.
Hood River, Ore.