A Yakima County moratorium on new solar farms will stay in place as the county devises rules for siting them.

Commissioners on Tuesday approved continuing the six-month moratorium on mid- and large-scale solar farms.

Commissioners enacted the moratorium on July 26. Public hearings are required within 60 days of a moratorium being enacted.

The moratorium doesn't effect a handful of proposed solar farms that have either been approved or are slated for arid lands east of Moxee.

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A few people spoke, some for and some against the moratorium.

Carl Hurlburt said the county runs the risk of missing out on a development opportunity that would prove beneficial.

“I would like to see this sort of facility go in as quick as it can,” he said. “I think it’s crazy that the county is standing in the way.”

But Yakima County Farm Bureau President Mark Herke thanked the commission for the moratorium, saying dust, water runoff and other potential issues such a project could bring needs to be considered.

He blamed Gov. Jay Inslee’s green energy mandate for sparking the recent flood of interest in solar farms here.

“And that’s what’s causing the stampede,” Herke said.

Reach Phil Ferolito at pferolito@yakimaherald.com.

Yakima County Government, Lower Valley Reporter

Hi, I’m Phil Ferolito, longtime reporter with the Yakima Herald-Republic, where I have gained an array of experience from covering small city governments and school districts to big-picture issues concerning county government, crime and the Yakama Nation, a federally recognized tribe with important historical and cultural ties to the land.  I began with the Herald-Republic in Oct. 2000 as a copy editor, designing pages, writing headlines and proof-reading stories. Over the years I have covered four Lower Valley municipalities, Granger, Toppenish, Wapato and Harrah, and the Yakama Nation. My goal always has been to shine a light in dark places and bring readers closer to concerning issues, important people, and other events in our community.  

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