Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler has come out against a plan by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to acquire nearly 10,000 acres currently owned by TransAlta.
The proposal has drawn the ire of Lewis County commissioners and other area leaders who say it would stifle potential development. Supporters highlight the potential benefits for wildlife.
“The WDFW plan for the TransAlta property is a bad deal for Lewis county residents, Washington state citizens and even for responsible conservation advocates, and I am opposed to it,” Herrera Beutler, a Republican from Battle Ground, wrote in a statement. “Numerous mayors and the Lewis County Commission have expressed deep concern about the loss of economic opportunity that would result from the proposal. The hit to Lewis County residents would be magnified because this area includes a state-designated Opportunity Zone, which has been an invaluable tool for lifting up distressed areas. I had communities like Lewis County in mind when I helped create Opportunity Zones via the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the WDFW proposal would result in a huge missed opportunity to bring more jobs and economic life to Lewis County citizens.”
This story will be updated.