Northwest Renewable News

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Group forms to oppose Teanaway solar reserve November 11, 2009

When his son was going to Central Washington University, Jim Brose and his family fell in love with the peace and beauty of the Teanaway.

Now, Brose is heading an effort he believes is crucial to save that peace and beauty.

The 62-year-old Brose, who lives in the Mill Creek area on the West Side but owns a residence in the Teanaway, is chairman of Friends of the Teanaway, a non-profit group formed to oppose construction of the Teanaway Solar Reserve (TSR).

Teanaway Solar Reserve LLC, a private company, hopes to build the project on part of 900-plus acres it has leased in the Teanaway from the American Forest Land Co.

It’s been billed as the largest solar installation in the state.

But Brose says it’s wrong to put it in the Teanaway.

“It’s such a beautiful area, and so relaxing. The impact of this proposal would be much more noticeable than what they’re saying. We feel it would change the whole atmosphere,” Brose said.

He said opponents feel the company is attempting to rush the project through at the expense of the community.

Friends of the Teanaway currently includes more than 20 families, most of them residing in the Cle Elum or Teanaway areas, he said.

Opponents challenge TSR assurances that the solar installation won’t be visible to most people in the area.

Friends of the Teanaway members also challenge what they claim are “misleading and contradictory information” provided by TSR and charge that TSR is misleading the public.

“TSR has said on one hand that ‘not even the closest neighbors will see the solar panels,’” said Barb King, a member of Friends of the Teanaway who lives on Lookout Mountain.

She claims that “graphs” submitted by the company to the county show “the public will clearly see this nearly two-mile wide eye sore for up to eight miles in all directions.”

The group also contends that TSR is “closely connected to the American Forest Land Co.,” which is proposing a development on land it owns in the area. Last week, the Kittitas County Board of Commissioners temporarily suspended a sub-area planning process for the Teanaway in the wake of a police investigation into the disappearance of public documents. The Ellensburg Police Department announced Tuesday that it has completed its investigation into the disappearance and recovery of records missing from the Kittitas County Community Development Services department. Based on that investigation, the case has been referred to the Kittitas County Prosecutor’s Office for any charging consideration.

TSR representatives have consistently said that their project is not related to AFLC’s hoped-for development in the area. Howard Trott, managing partner for TSR, reiterated that assertion this week in a phone interview.

Brose said members of Friends of the Teanaway believe the solar reserve project is being “rushed through. We’re concerned that this is going to change the whole atmosphere (of the Teanaway), and they’re trying to do it so fast,” he said.

MARY SWIFT, Daily Record – http://www.kvnews.com/articles/2009/11/11/news/doc4afb098890b8c175837961.txt

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