See Update below
Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed the “Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act.” This ground-breaking law requires PSE to cut greenhouse gas emissions and transform our energy grid to reduce harm to the environment.
CENSE helped to lead a large coalition of neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, faith groups, and indigenous people to ask PSE’s Board of Directors to reconsider projects like Energize Eastside and the Lake Hills/Phantom Lake Transmission Line. These projects are harmful to the environment, bad for communities, expensive for ratepayers, and risky for residents. Given the magnitude of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead, it’s time to reprioritize and pursue projects that benefit everyone, including PSE.
You can read the letter and see the supporting organizations here: Opportunities for collaborative grid transformation.
UPDATE – June 2019
On May 30, we received a response from PSE (see the letter here). A company representative says that both transmission projects have been through “more than five years of public outreach and review.” It’s true that the Energize Eastside project has been widely publicized and robust debate continues (thanks to sustained efforts by CENSE), but the Lake Hills project has not received similar treatment. Only people living adjacent to the proposed power line were notified of the 2014 public hearing for the project, and only nine citizens attended the hearing.
PSE claims that both projects are “needed now more than ever.” However, demand for electricity is not growing in Bellevue or the Eastside. PSE’s own data shows declining winter demand over the last decade, and summer demand remains significantly lower than winter demand.
We think it is a mistake for PSE to refuse to meet with community leaders. Transparency and engagement are beneficial for communities, the environment, and the long-term health of PSE’s business. If PSE has a change of heart, we remain ready to meet and discuss options that would benefit all parties.