Local and federal officials exchanged concerns in a closed-door meeting Tuesday about potential encroachment issues involving wind farms, but left the meeting on a positive note, officials said.
U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Lubbock, hosted the meeting Tuesday at Dyess Air Force Base for representatives from the city of Abilene, Taylor and Nolan counties, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and the Federal Aviation Administration.
At stake is the future coexistence of two major economic players in the Abilene area: Dyess, the city’s largest employer, and the burgeoning wind energy industry.
”Everybody is pro-wind energy,” Taylor County Judge George Newman said in an interview after the meeting. ”But we’re also pro-Dyess.”
Neugebauer said the meeting could be the first in a series.
”We don’t want to create such an onerous process that Texas isn’t going to continue to be the leading state in wind energy,” Neugebauer said in an interview after the meeting.
Still to be determined: which agency will take charge of making sure all of involved groups continue communicating. The Federal Aviation Administration, which already tracks the locations of wind farms, was mentioned as a possibility.
Newman said everyone involved is trying to prevent a potential conflict between Dyess and wind energy development.
Attendees also said the federal or state governments should come up with some sort of regulatory system that would make sure concerns on both sides are heard Newman said.
”Counties are limited in the amount of control they have,” he said.
By Blanca Cantu
30 May 2007
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