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r r <br />�(2 KSTMAS OOUYQTY <br />January 14, 2010 <br />Kittitas County, Washington <br />BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS <br />District ane <br />Paul Jewell <br />Honorable Judy Warnick <br />13`s Legislative District Representative <br />403 J.L, O'Brien Building <br />PO Box 40600 <br />Olympia, WA 98504-0600 <br />Dear Representative 'Warnick: <br />District Two District Three <br />Alan Crankovich Mark McClain <br />The Kittitas County Board of County Commissioners requests you not approve House Bill 2516, <br />This proposed legislation significantly modifies the role of the Energy facility Site Evaluation Council <br />(EFSEC) by expanding its authority beyond original legislative intent to include the siting and permitting <br />of small wind energy systems. If passed, this measure would bypass local legislative authority by creating <br />an administrative process through EFSEC that would encourage individuals to apply and receive approval <br />for the placement of wind turbines up to 170 feet tall without public input; without oversight by any other <br />authority, without consideration of local regulations and zoning, and if necessary, preempting the decision <br />of a local government. <br />According to EFSEC's website "the State of Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC <br />or Council) provides a `one-stop' siting process for major energy facilities in the State of Washington" <br />(emphasis added). Single wind turbines that are up to 170 feet tall certainly are not considered major. <br />Further supporting the intent of EFSEC to review and make recommendations for major energy facilities <br />can be found in .RCW 80.50.071 which outlines and requires certain application fees including $25,000 <br />per site plus applicable expenses of independent consultants, the council, etc. HB 2516 proposes to <br />exempt small wind energy systems from these fees. <br />Currently, RCW 80.50.090 (1) requires "the council shall conduct an informational public hearing in the <br />county of the proposed site" for all applications. Presumably, this is to comply with the legislative intent in <br />RCW 80.50.010 which states "it is the intent to seek courses of action that will balance the increasing <br />demands for energy facility location and operation in conjunction with the broad interests of the public." <br />By removing any public process or input as HB 2516 proposes for small wind energy systems, legislative <br />intent is clearly undermined. Accordingly, RCW 80.50.090 (2) further states "...the council shall conduct <br />a public hearing to determine whether or not the proposed site is consistent with city, county, or regional <br />land use plans or zoning ordinances." HB 2516 proposes to exempt small wind energy systems from the <br />basic and fundamental analysis of compatibility with local regulations. <br />In our view it is unacceptable for the state to enact laws that remove the authority of the local legislative <br />body in favor of an unelected agency which, in this proposal, will act on these applications without <br />oversight. In its current form, RCW 80.50. 100 requires EFSEC to prepare a written report to the Governor <br />with recommendations for approval or denial of an application, It is then the responsibility of the <br />Governor to make the final determination. In contrast to this well established standard, HB 2516 again <br />proposes to exempt small wind energy systems from this basic oversight, leaving full authority in the hands <br />of EFSEC alone. We already have too many instances whereby state agencies are empowered to impact <br />local conditions significantly without proper oversight or recourse. <br />Finally, HB 2516 proposes in Section 6 (3) that "a small alternative energy resource facility site <br />certification issued by the council preempts any permit issued by a local government". If passed, this <br />measure would give EFSEC ultimate authority over these facilities.. No longer would EFSEC be in place <br />for overseeing major infrastructure improvements in energy for the State of Washington and its citizens, <br />KITTITAS COLINITY COUIUMOUSE • 205 WEST 5", SUIT'F 108 - ELLENSBURG, WA 98926 <br />(509) 962-7508 - FAX(509)962-7679 <br />www.coki£Iitas.waxs <br />