It’s a trend you see across the Pacific Northwest; farm acres being converted into alternative energy projects, either wind or solar farms. But one Washington lawmaker says more questions need to be asked before additional production acres are lost.


Walla Walla Representative Mark Klicker is sponsoring House Bill 1871, which would establish a moratorium on the siting of alternative energy facilities via a site evaluation council. He noted that would allow the state legislature to examine the economics and get a broader consensus of what’s available across the entire state. Klicker noted the legislation asks the question, where does the state want additional wind turbines and solar farms?

“[We’re] not only producing this energy but on the negative end of it, it is putting up wind turbines over many, many acres.  And a perfect example is the Horse Heaven wind farm with a proposed 60,000 acre, 234 turbine facility.  And a majority of the people in Benton County are not in favor of that.”

Klicker said much of the alternative energy being produced in Washington is done so in rural counties, but it’s being consumed by the larger metropolitan areas, and he feels that some of those energy facilities need to be constructed closer to where the energy is used. Klicker noted HB 1871 does not prohibit future alternative energy farms, but slows down process for better educated decisions.

“If the Governor end up signing it into law, which I’m not sure that he will, it’s only a 20-month moratorium, a report would come out and they could move ahead.  So, it’s not that long, but we can establish more of a permanent idea of where we want to put our clean energy.”

HB 1871 will be heard in the House Environment and Energy Committee Friday at 10 a.m.

Click Here to watch the hearings.

Click Here to offer testimony

Click Here for detail on HB 1871.

If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail

More From PNW Ag Network