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On World Stage, Inslee Decries
'NIMBYism' in Washington

by Don Jenkins
Capital Press, November 14, 2022

Inslee said he will propose Washington spend more money
to speed up reviews of energy projects.

Map: USA Solar Resources Governments will have to overcome "nimbyism," including in Washington, to achieve clean-energy goals, Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday at the United Nations climate conference.

Regulatory reforms are needed to prevent local opponents from delaying projects, said Inslee, speaking at the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt.

"I do believe we need some change because the nimbyism that we will now be facing will be prolific," he said.

"We already are seeing it a little bit in my state because clean energy is a relative term. The cleanest energy in the world still has some environmental impact," Inslee said.

"It has some visual impact. It has some auditory impact and every single ounce of that can create a pushback from the nimbyism that is built into the human genome," he said.

Inslee made his remarks on a panel organized by the Climate Registry, a nonprofit that helped pay his trip to the UN's 27th climate conference.

Wind and solar projects have encountered opposition in Eastern Washington, including from several boards of county commissioners, concerned about losing control of land-use decisions to the Inslee administration.

"We need local control. If that's nimbyism, so be it," said Moses Lake Sen. Judy Warnick, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate agriculture committee.

Inslee did not cite any examples of nimbyism, a variation of the acronym for "not in my back yard." The governor's spokesman, Mike Faulk, said in an email that the remark was a general comment that local opposition will be an obstacle to address when siting energy and transmission projects.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and U.S. Energy Assistant Secretary for fossil energy Brad Crabtree also were on the panel.

Inslee said he will propose Washington spend more money to speed up reviews of energy projects. Lawsuits and reviews without deadlines threaten to prevent timely approvals, he said.

"We've got to make decisions, and this will be controversial," he said. "We have to confront it. We have to succeed."

Energy companies can bypass counties by applying to the Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. Most voting council members belong to the Inslee administration.

The Legislature this year, at Inslee's request, broadened the council's authority and made changes intended to shorten reviews.

The governor vetoed a study on how wind and solar projects are reshaping Eastern Washington's agricultural landscape.

The study's sponsor, Rep. Mark Klicker, R-Walla Walla, said Monday that he expects the governor to propose giving siting council more power.

"I think they're going to pile it on," he said.

"I was hoping we could work together as one state of Washington, but it apparently doesn't work that way," Klicker said. "Yes, you're going to get nimbyism from communities that feel like they're being played."

The governor will present his proposals for the 2023 Legislature in December, Faulk said.

Also on Sunday, Washington was introduced as the newest member of the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance. Membership costs 10,000 euros, or $10,322, a year, according to the governor's office.

The other 29 members include California, British Columbia, private companies and several European and Latin American countries such as France, the Netherlands and Uruguay.

"We're ready to rock 'n' roll when it comes to total decarbonization of our transportation fleet," said Inslee, at a press conference.

All government policies and schools should promote "decarbonization," he said.

"We need to educate our children about the demands for climate-change action and the capability and safety of riding bikes and walking," Inslee said. "This is something we need to embed in our educational system."

Don Jenkins
On World Stage, Inslee Decries 'NIMBYism' in Washington
Capital Press, November 14, 2022

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