Solar Plan Collides With Farm Tradition in Pacific Northwest

“For us, a lot of options have turned into not many options,” said Ms. Nelson, 39, who has been looking for a bigger home for her family of six. With prices rising faster than Mr. Nelson’s salary as an engineering tech worker, the Nelsons say they may have to leave the state for cost reasons. “We don’t want to go, nevertheless just not sure if we can stay,” Ms. Nelson said.

Tensions over the growing population in addition to shifting economy were already high two years ago when the solar project first came along. Fault lines quickly emerged. The area’s chamber of commerce, for example, endorsed the project, while the county board of commissioners supported a moratorium on commercial solar projects on prime farmland.

Opponents of the solar project have a shorthand line of attack: Seattle is usually pushing This specific.

“The wind farms aren’t located inside greater Seattle area, the wolves aren’t located inside greater Seattle area, the grizzly bear expansion isn’t slated for the Greater Seattle area, in addition to the solar farms aren’t there either,” said Paul Jewell, a former county commissioner, ticking off highly debated initiatives that will government officials have considered in recent years.

“They’re all inside rural areas,” said Mr. Jewell, who opposes the solar project. “in addition to so there’s definitely a disconnect there — they say ‘yes,’ in addition to we bear the burden. They say ‘yes,’ in addition to we pay the cost.”

Geography aside, conservatives in addition to liberals have lined up on both sides of the solar question. Ronald Slater, a retired contractor in addition to a supporter of President Trump, was so eager to get solar panels on his land that will he handed out business cards at a recent county meeting. Carla Tacher, who manages a fruit in addition to vegetable stand outside Ellensburg in addition to said she leans toward Democrats, said that will more renewable energy — far easier to produce inside sunnier weather east of the Cascades than inside western half of the state — is usually crucial for the global climate.

“I’m all for the idea,” Ms. Tacher said.

Broader political questions are on the horizon in November, when voters in Kittitas County will pick a successor to Dave Reichert, a seven-term Republican who is usually retiring. The county is usually a conservative anchor of the Eighth Congressional District, which extends west to more liberal suburbs of Seattle. Mr. Reichert, a right-of-center moderate on most issues, won the district in 2016 with significant support in Kittitas. nevertheless Hillary Clinton carried the district inside presidential race, as Barack Obama did in 2008 in addition to 2012, so both parties see the House seat as winnable — in addition to crucial to their control of the next Congress.