Illinois’ senators said Friday that they no longer are blocking President Bush’s nominee for a Pentagon post after learning from the Defense Department that one of its recent report won’t be detrimental to wind farms in their state.
Sens. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat, and Barack Obama had put a hold on the nomination of Robert Wilkie to be assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the Pentagon.
They want the Bush administration to issue a conclusive determination as to whether the operation of wind farms under construction in Bloomington, Ill., and other parts of the Midwest would interfere with military radar systems.
The 2006 Defense Authorization Act called for the Pentagon to report to Congress on the effects of wind farms on military readiness, including whether the farms could interfere with military radar.
David Broome, deputy assistant secretary of defense, told Durbin in a letter dated Friday that the recently concluded report found the magnitude of the impact on radar is dependent upon the number and location of the wind turbines.
Broome said the Federal Aviation Administration, which is responsible for the use of U.S. airspace, has determined that the wind turbines operating in Illinois – and the ones under construction and reviewed by the FAA – pose no hazard to military radar.
“The Department of Defense report cannot and will not be used to change the current FAA determination of the projects in Illinois,” he added.
Durbin said the letter means that the Illinois wind industry can now confidently move forward in contributing to the development of one of the nation’s best sources of alternative energy.
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