After much deliberation, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has approved the site certification agreement for the Whistling Ridge Wind Energy Project in Skamania County.
The proposal originally called for 50 wind turbines but faced opposition from environmental groups and nearby landowners due to the wind farm's potential visual and noise impacts. In an attempt to rectify these concerns, Gregoire modified the proposal to allow for 35 wind turbines to be built on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge.
‘After careful review and consideration, I informed the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) today that I will follow its unanimous recommendation and approve the 35 new wind turbines to be built by Whistling Ridge Energy LLC,’ Gregoire said in a statement.
‘This decision wasn't reached lightly,’ she said. "I weighed the hundreds of public comments collected by EFSEC. I examined the results of various environmental and land use reviews. And I considered the expert testimony gathered by EFSEC on the impact of new wind turbines.
"A modified project with 35 wind turbines would help meet our need for clean energy and bring needed jobs and revenue to Skamania County, while preserving the esthetic and recreational benefits of the Gorge," Gregoire continued. "This decision is a balanced approach, and one that serves all citizens of the state."