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US House panel OKs more lenient wind energy legislation  

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources passed Thursday wind energy legislation that was more lenient than previously proposed by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. – a sign of the wind energy industry’s growing lobbying power.

Some environmental groups and wind energy groups had feared that one of Rahall’s provisions in his Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act of 2007 could have stalled the burgeoning wind energy industry with onerous siting regulations.

But an amendment offered by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., that only offered ” guidelines” for siting and took into account wildlife protection instead did win approval.

Votes on other amendments offered by ranking member Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., seeking to strike provisions in the bill that would repeal oil and gas drilling laws in the 2005 Energy Policy Act – which were designed to accelerate oil and gas production – were postponed until next Wednesday. The oil and gas industry fears the provisions in Rahall’s bill would stunt domestic production.

Markey said his amendment strikes a balance between protecting wildlife and acting on the need for more renewable energy like wind power to address America’s energy and global warming challenges. The amendment authorizes funds to study ways to minimize wildlife loss due to wind turbines and streamlines the Department of the Interior’s advisory process on wind-wildlife safety.

“I believe this amendment creates a balance between our need to protect wildlife like birds and bats and the imperative that we move towards clean, renewable forms of energy like wind power in order to reduce the global warming pollution that threatens all of the world’s species,” Markey, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said in a prepared statement.

By Ian Talley

Dow Jones Newswires

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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