I support pursuing wind energy on Washington’s coast as proposed in a recent Op-Ed. This process must be “smart from the start” and robustly analyze the potential siting and operational impacts of projects before approvals.

I was a national staffer for Sierra Club during the last federal push for large-scale renewable energy in California and other Western states. In the headlong rush to spend stimulus money, several major wind and solar projects were built in the wrong locations on federal lands, resulting in serious impacts to ecosystems and wildlife.

The state of California recognized the need for thoughtful, science-based planning to identify the least-impact locations to build clean energy in its desert region. Central to the process was engaging a broad group of stakeholders, including local communities, developers, state agencies, county and federal governments, environmental organizations, recreationists and independent scientists. (Tribal engagement was inadequate; Washington must do better.)

Offshore wind presents more complex issues than on land: migration routes of birds, fish and mammals; undersea noise impacts; avoidance of shipping lanes; and many more. It’s essential to engage environmentalists, scientists, tribes and other key stakeholders now to analyze and ultimately agree on the least-impact places for wind projects offshore.

Barbara Boyle, Seattle