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Industry association speaks out against strict wind laws

A provision in new legislation could immobilize the growing U.S. wind energy industry.

Introduced recently by U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., H.R. 2337 is slated to move quickly in the U.S. House of Representatives with action in the House Resources Committee scheduled for June.

The bill would set new, strict requirements on the wind industry that have never applied to other energy sectors, said Randall Swisher, head of the American Wind Energy Association.

Subtitle D of the bill would direct the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to review every existing and planned wind project and criminalize operation of wind-energy facilities not formally certified by USFWS. The legislation includes landowners and farmers with wind turbines on their property.

Landowners and farmers could face jail time or a $50,000 penalty for putting a wind turbine on their property without certification by the USFWS director.

“This bill is an unprecedented threat to clean, renewable energy,” Swisher said. “It would undermine an essential piece of the global warming solution. Wind energy is the one readily deployable, cost-effective option we have available to meet this challenge, and Rep. Rahall’s proposal would put a massive roadblock in its path.”

A hearing on the bill in the House Natural Resources Committee is scheduled for May 23.

UPI

upi.com

21 May 2007