Tag Archives: Initiative 937

Governor Gregoire Stops Tilting at Windmills

Governor Gregoire has chosen to do the right thing although not everyone agreed. She has given the go-ahead to the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project to build up to 65 wind turbines on ridges overlooking Route 97 northwest of Ellensburg in eastern Washington.

Back in July Governor Gregoire had asked the Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council to re-evaluate the project based on concerns of local rural residents opposed to the Project. At the time we felt Governor Gregoire was tilting at windmills and needed to show leadership.

With an emphasis to build them as far away as possible from residences, the go ahead was significant in that it overrode local opposition to the project by the Kittitas Couty Board of Commissioners.

The Seattle Times quotes US Congressman Doc Hastings, a supporter of nuclear power from the TriCities area as saying, “I fear this precedent will embolden energy companies to bypass local leaders and go to the Governor to have projects imposed on communities.”

Funny thing, I seem to remember that this was exactly what the nuclear power industry tried to do in Washington State back in the 1970’s and 1980’s when they were promoting the WPPSS nuclear power plants at Satsop. I doubt you’ll find any similiar quotes from Hastings back then supporting local opposition to those projects.

Washington voters, by passing Initiative 394 back in 1981, said that they didn’t want to be indebted for bonds for large public energy projects without having a vote first. Washington voters last year actually voted to promote more renewable energy use in Washington State with the passage of Initiative 937.

The Kittitas Valley Wind Project represents a significant step in meeting the goals of Initiative 937 to achieve 15% of our energy from new renewable energy resources like wind by 2020. Governor Gregoire has made the right decision by listening to the voters and acting in the public interest.

Governor Gregoire Tilting at Windmills?

There’s a lot of wind in Kittitas County, Washington. Kittitas County is east of the Cascade Mountains. East of Ellensburg, 110 windmills already are operating as part of the Wind Horse Wind Farm. More are on the way.

Just like with building any large facility for energy, be it nuclear, coal, natural gas, or hydropower, there are changes and impacts to local communities. Weighting these local impacts against statewide significance is not always easy. But windmills aren’t nuclear power plants.

Still its not necessarily surprising that local Kittitas County Commissioners last year rejected another wind project near Ellensburg called the Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project.

However the local commissioners did not have the final say. Energy projects of statewide significance are approved on the state level by EFSEC – the Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. EFSEC on a 6 to 1 vote subsequently approved the project to build 65 windmills, overruling the local land use decision. In a nod to local concerns they only gave approval to about half the number originally proposed.

However now Governor Gregoire has asked EFSEC to re-evaluate whether a setback of 1600 feet from residences could be increased while still keeping the projects viable. Kate Riley, an editorial columnist for the Seattle Times, wrote a column entitled “Wind-farm storm shouldn’t blow governor off course” She’s right.

The Governor may be trying to cater to local concerns but we’re not talking about putting a coal plant or a nuclear plant in someone’s back yard. The Governor should go along with the EFSEC decision – the wind plants will create 125 new jobs in Kittitas County while not adding more CO2 to the atmosphere or producing nuclear waste that will be around for hundreds of thousands of years.

Last year Washington state votes passed the Clean Energy Initiative, Initiative 937, to promote renewable energy like wind power. The voters want to move forward and if Governor Gregoire wants to micromanage where every individual wind mill goes she is moving backward not forward.

As noted in an article in the Seattle PI by Helen Wise of Ellensburg and Sara Patton of the Northwest Energy Coalition

many were shocked when the governor failed to confirm state regulators’ endorsement of a well-sited wind energy project near Ellensburg. The state’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council had voted 6-1 for Horizon Wind Energy’s proposed Kittitas Valley Wind Power Project. The project had passed every environmental test and Horizon had halved the number of turbines to address some local residents’ concerns.
The governor wants EFSEC to investigate an issue already addressed during the five-year process — the economic feasibility of greatly increasing the distance between clean energy-generating turbines and outside properties. Horizon officials testified during the EFSEC and earlier county proceedings that doing so would kill the project.
The governor’s remand jeopardizes the many benefits the project would bring to Kittitas County residents, which only begin with direct payments to project landowners. A Kittitas Economic Development Group report says the wind farm would increase county property tax revenues more than $1 million annually — a 5 percent rise — and create 125 full- and part-time jobs.
The move is also a threat to state and regionwide interests. The Kittitas Valley project is the first proposed renewable-energy development to come before the governor since voters approved the state’s clean-energy Initiative 937.”

One has to wonder what’s up? Other wind projects are also in the pipeline to be considered. Governor Gregoire needs to be clear about the value of these projects in producing clean energy and not increasing global warming. She is sending the wrong message questioning a 6 to 1 decision by EFSEC that already reduced significantly the approved number of viable wind turbines.

Washington State Initiative Races – Post Election Commentary

Washington State Voters on Election Day exercised their collective wisdom in defeating two conservative initiatives and supporting one progressive one.

Initiative 933 – regarding private property

approve …..492,412……42.2%
reject ……….675,160……58%

This rejection of I-933 represents a significant victory. This is the second time this issue has been voted on and each time they have been clear victories for growth management and environmental protection. Washington voters strongly support maintaining growth management, zoning and environmental protections. This law was too extreme in covering both personal and real property and was a threat to community values and taxpayer dollars. The main funders of this measure, out of state New York real estate developer Howard Rich and his Americans for Limited Government, along with the Washington State Farm Bureau, were decisively defeated in their campaign.

Unfortunately voters in Arizona approved their version of the pay or waive legislation by passing Proposition 207 by a 65% to 35% vote. Meanwhile voters in 2 other states, Idaho and California rejected similar measures.
See also  Property Rights Measures Rejected In Washington and Other States But Arizonans pass a regulatory takings measure.

Initiative 920 – regarding the estate tax

reject ……….710,415…..61.1%

This is another decisive victory for progressives. The campaign won with a clear message and a great ad that articulated that 99.5% of Washington estates as well as farms were not affected by this tax and that the tax went to fund education for Washington’s children.

Initiative 937 – regarding renewable energy

approve ……602,859…..52.3%
reject ………..554,133…..47.7%

A clear win for proponents of clean energy and secure energy working to give us more energy independence. The initiative requires that by 2020 the major electric utilities in Washington receive 15% of their new energy capacity from renewable energy. Unfortunately a measure in California to create an alternative energy fund lost after huge spending by the oil industry. Now I wonder where they got all that money to oppose alternative energy.

Initiative 937 – Boeing, Avista and Weyerhauser Oppose Energy Independence

So what’s a life of a US serviceman worth? What’s the life of someone in Iraq who’s caught in the crossfire worth? Not much if you accept the head in the sand attitude of some large corporations in Washington State who are contributing to the campaign to defeat Initiative 937.

Initiative 937 is already law in 20 states according to Marketwatch. It is a simple initiative. It requires that by 2020 large utilities obtain 15% of their electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar and undertake cost-effective conservation.

Rather than supporting efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and the need to send American servicemen and women to fight a war over oil in Iraq, the large corporations opposing I-937 seem to be only looking at their narrow self interest by not wanting to be obligated to do anything.

They are running childish radio ads trying to scare people into thinking their energy bills will go up. If you factor the cost of the Iraq War into our energy bills, then our bills are already astronomical. Maybe its time for us as a state and a nation to grow up and take responsibility and end our dependence on oil from other nations. Why send billions and billions of dollars to people in the MidEast? Why not spend it in our own backyard?

Initiative 937 says that it is the policy of Washington State that:

“Increasing energy conservation and the use of appropriately sited renewable energy facilities builds on the strong foundation of low-cost hydroelectric generation in Washington state and will promote energy independence in the state and the Pacific Northwest region. Making the most of our plentiful local resources will stabilize energy prices for Washington residents, provide economic benefits for Washington counties and farmers, create high quality jobs in Washington, provide opportunities for training apprentice workers in the renewable energy field, protect clean air and water, and position Washington state as a national leader in clean energy technologies.”

So here is the list of the “Head in the Sand Let’s Just Kill People for Oil” corporations and businesses who are opposing the common sense energy security Initiative 937:

Weyerhauser …………………………………$101,200
Avista ……………………………………………..$50,000
Boise Cascade ………………………………….$50,000
Longview Fiber ……………………………….$50,000
NW Pulp and Paper …………………………$50,000
Regional Solutions Committee………….$35,000
Washington Rural Electric Coop ……….$32,500
Pacific Corp……………………………………….$25,000
Am. Forest and Paper Assoc……………..$10,000
Columbia-Snake River Irrigators………$10,000
Boeing ………………………………………………$10,000
Penisula Light Co……………………………….. $5,000
Port Blakely Tree Farm……………………….$5000
Sabey Corp…………………………………………..$5000
Westbrook Farms………………………………..$5000
Columbia Rural Electric Assoc,Inc ……….$2000
WTA Services Assoc…………………………….$2000


Figures are from Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

You can help the Initiative 937 campaign by urging your family, friends and neighbors to vote Yes on Initiative 937 on or before Nov.7th, 2006. You can also visit the Yeson937 campaign website to make a donation and volunteer to help.

Energy Security Initiative Kickoff!

The following is taken from an e-mail from the Energy Security Initiative Campaign. Attend a kickoff or contact them at www.energysecuritynow.org. to get petitions and volunteer. Please help put a progressive initiative on the fall ballot. Join their e-mail list and keep informed of their progress.

“Clean Energy Initiative Officially Filed in Olympia!
On January 25th, Washingtonians for Energy Security officially submitted initiative wording to the Secretary of State’s office. For anyone who missed the media coverage, the filing of the initiative was combined with a press conference that was covered by press outlets across the state. Speakers at the event included U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee, Sara Patton of the Northwest Energy Coalition, and Randy Hardy, a former Bonneville Power Administrator. Afterward, both KIRO and KOMO radio conducted radio interviews with members of the campaign committee, and newspapers around the state ran stories on the official launch of the initiative. By all accounts, the press launch was a huge success!! Click on the following links to read articles that were published following the press conference:

· The Seattle Times – Read article here! (Requires free registration to read.)
· The Columbian – Read article here!
· The Longview Daily News – Read article here!
· The Olympian – Read article here!

Please join us at a Campaign Kick-Off Meeting near you!
We are very excited to announce the dates for our campaign kick-off events – taking place all across the state! These meetings will be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the initiative, meet campaign staff and other volunteers in your area, and discuss what we need to do to attain our goal of 160,000 signatures. Only with your help will we qualify for the November ballot, and we hope to see you and all your friends at one of the following meetings!:

Snohomish County Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00 p.m.South Everett Library – Evergreen Branch9512 Evergreen Way, Everett, Directions

King County Kick-Off MeetingThursday, February 16th at 7:00 p.m.
University Heights Center
5031 University Way NE, Seattle, Directions

Thurston County Kick-Off Meeting
Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00 p.m.
Plenty Restaurant (in the meeting room in back)
200 4th Ave W, Olympia, Directions

Pierce County Kick-Off Meeting
Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00 p.m.
U.S. Congressman Jay Inslee will be joining us at this meeting!Tacoma Nature Center
1919 S. Tyler Street, Tacoma, Directions

Clark County Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday, February 22nd at 7:00 p.m.
Vancouver Housing Authority (Community Room)
2500 Main St #100, Vancouver, Directions

Whatcom County Kick-Off Meeting
Thursday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m.
Whatcom Educational Credit Union
600 E Holly St, Bellingham, Directions

Spokane County Kick-Off Meeting
Tuesday, February 28th at 7:00 p.m.
At the Community Building
35 W Main, Spokane, Directions

Tri-Cities Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m.
Pasco Library Meeting Room
1320 W Hopkins, Pasco, Directions

Walla Walla Kick-Off Meeting
Wednesday, March 1st at 1:00 p.m.
Reid Campus Center Café on the Whitman Campus
345 Boyer Ave, Walla Walla, Directions

Energy Security Initiative

Progressives have the opportunity to help push a positive initiative this year in Washington state. Energy activists have come together to push for an Energy Security Initiative.

The initiative’s goal is to require that by 2020 15% of the electricity produced in Washington State is from renewable sources.

To sign up to help you can visit their website at Energy Security Now . They need to collect over 220,000 valid signatures of Washington voters by the beginning of July.