Saturday, August 31, 2013
A controversial wind farm proposal slated for construction on forestland in Skamania County has been upheld by the Washington Supreme Court.
In an opinion released on Thursday, the state’s highest court of law denied an appeal filed by Friends of the Columbia Gorge that challenged the legitimacy of the site certification agreement for the Whistling Ridge Energy Project.
“We find no basis to reverse the Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council’s recommendation or the governor’s approval of the project,” wrote Justice Charles W. Johnson, author of the decision.
The wind farm is planned to be located on SDS Lumber Co. and Broughton Lumber Co. land in southeastern Skamania County. Though located outside the National Scenic Area, the project has attracted controversy since some of the project’s 35 wind turbines would be visible from White Salmon and Hood River, according to environmental groups.
Though the court found in favor of the project proponents, it is unknown whether the facility will move forward. Jason Spadaro, president of SDS Lumber and Whistling Ridge Energy Partners, has said in the past that economic factors and a reduction in the project’s size may put the wind farm’s future in doubt.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge