Wallula Power Project
Client: Newport Northwest
Managed comprehensive public acceptance strategy in the successful permitting effort for a 1300 megawatt gas-fired combined cycle power plant near Wallula in far western Walla Walla County.
In the smoothest permitting effort in the history of Washington State's Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC), Newport Northwest secured gubernatorial approval for the region's largest gas-fired power project in slightly over one year. Working on behalf of Newport Northwest, long before the project was announced, Robert D. Kahn & Company built strong community support and helped secure leading environmental groups' acceptance for the Wallula Power Project along with that of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Newport Northwest, after clearly establishing the regional need for the huge project anticipated, resolved and, where necessary, mitigated issues before concerns arose. The company also managed to enjoy fair -- even favorable -- press coverage throughout the process and the editorial support of the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. Our mantra, "if you can't build a power plant between a feedlot and a paper mill, where can you?" resonated with a broad cross section of opinion. Governor Gary Locke's endorsement of EFSEC's recommendation arrived within months of Enron's collapse destroying Newport's business model and leading to the project's eventual abandonment.