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Yakama nation withdraws challenge to wind farm extension in Northwest

Michael Kitchen says he will expand his 1 MW Mariah Energy project in the Columbia Hills of southern Washington by 12 MW this year. Kitchen received a conditional use permit from Klickitat County in November 2004 and has been waiting for the project to clear a state court challenge by the Yakama Indian Nation before proceeding. That challenge was withdrawn in early December. Kitchen erected 16 vintage ESI-54 wind turbines, once used at the Whiskey Run project on the southern Oregon Coast, in 2001 after seven-and-half years of debate with the local Audubon Society over bird migration routes and with the Yakama Nation over tribal resources. Although his 100 acre site in the hills overlooking the Columbia River Gorge near Goldendale is approved for 16 MW, he would have to remove the ESI-54 turbines in order to build to the site's potential. But after finally securing income from green tag sales for those wind turbines, he prefers to keep them spinning.

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