Oklahoma lawmakers to mull restrictions on wind turbines
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Legislature is considering restrictions on wind turbines near military bases.
At a hearing Tuesday of the House Transportation Committee heard from military officials and wind energy experts, The Oklahoman reported.
Lt. Gen. Lee Levy, the senior ranking military member in Oklahoma, said airmen are being put in “an unenviable situation” as they try to avoid wind turbines during their training flights.
“It is worrisome. We basically manage around the current encroachment,” Levy said.
In a recorded testimony, U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said construction of wind turbines near the state’s military bases could make them vulnerable to closure, though he didn’t provide details.
He also accused wind companies of refusing to consider the consequences of their construction.
“This is not a property rights issue. This is a national security issue,” Russell said.
Wind energy experts said there was no need for new laws. They said they’re willing to work with the state and the military to ensure wind turbines aren’t harming training objectives.
“We have never left the table. We’ve been willing to have that conversation,” said Jeff Clark, president of the Wind Coalition.
Dave Belote, a wind energy consultant, argued the federal process already gives sufficient oversight of wind turbines near bases.
“The one thing I would argue against is trying to create yet another layer of permitting,” Belote said. “The more you can avoid adding on layers — all that does is add costs to government, it adds costs to the industry, it delays things for the farmers and ranchers.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com