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Eleventh hour appeal at Columbia Hills
1 May 2001
Development of what was to have been the first wind power plant in the Columbia Hills in southern Washington has been put on hold pending an eleventh hour appeal to the County Superior Court by Columbia River Audubon Society and the Yakama Nation. The 1 MW Mariah Energy project had otherwise been granted a conditional use permit on February 13 after seven-and-half years of sometimes bitter debate with Dennis White of the Audubon Society over bird migration routes and with the Yakama Nation over tribal resources. Klickitat Public Utilities has agreed to buy the output of the 16 vintage ESI-54 wind turbines, but the two organisations filed to stop the project in March. Michael Kitchen of Mariah Energy says he will win the court battle, but he wants White to pay the cost of the work stoppage and is asking for that judgement in court. The potential for bird mortality has stopped at least two other wind projects planned for the bluffs that rise above the north side of the Columbia River. Both were much larger than Mariah's proposal. One originated with Kenetech Windpower and was transferred to Enron Wind and the other was a project promoted by Conservation and Renewables Energy System of Vancouver, Washington.
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