The science is clear: Climate change is a clear and present danger. At the same time, the pressure to convert habitat and farmland to large-scale solar farms is straining Washington communities. The path forward must be forged together, in a spirit of compromise for our shared future.

At Audubon Washington, we see the passage of Washington’s Clean Energy Transformation Act in 2019 as a key milestone in our efforts to protect birds and people from climate change. We also understand that powering our homes, businesses and vehicles with 100% clean energy must not be pursued at the expense of values like habitat conservation and outdoor recreation. The Times’ recent reporting on conflicts over solar siting in Eastern Washington perfectly illustrates this emerging challenge in pursuing our clean-electricity goals.

That’s why two years ago we partnered with American Farmland Trust and others to advance an inclusive, stakeholder-driven solar facility mapping process in the Columbia Plateau. We were excited to see legislators fund our bipartisan proposal. This funding was delayed last year because of pandemic-induced budget cuts; its revival can’t come soon enough, and we urge leaders in state government to do everything possible to expedite this process.

Adam Maxwell, Seattle, Audubon Washington