The 127-turbine project is widely viewed as amongst the most successful of the Eastern Washington wind farms, but the approval Tuesday was not without opposition.
The unanimous OK from commissioners came despite comments from representatives of the Kittitas Audubon Society. Hal Lindstrom of Ellensburg, a local Audubon member called on commissioners to not take action on the agreement until a conservation easement is approved between PSE and the state wildlife
The easement would make all PSE project land off-limits for other types of development other than alternative power production. Also asking for the conservation easement is the nonprofit Friends of Wildlife & Wind Power and the Kittitas County Field and Stream Club, according to Lindstrom who was contacted after the meeting.
David Bowen, PSE’s municipal liaison manager for Kittitas County and Central Washington, contacted later said a draft conservation easement is now under review by the state Fish and Wildlife Commission, and it’s hoped to be approved soon.
Lindstrom also said there was a need for a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement on the project area expansion, and that it should be publicly reviewed and approved first before the county acts.
PSE officials said the draft supplemental EIS is expected to be released for public review next week, with deadlines for public comment.