A letter from U.S. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada to Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne has been touted as a development in the crusade for renewable energy by Reid following a recent meeting with Nevada’s congressional delegation regarding wind power development in Nevada.
In the letter, Reid highlights his key priorities and urges Secretary Wynne to develop a centralized process for considering proposed wind projects.
Three issues are addressed in the letter, the publication of airspace maps or a “stoplight map” of Nevada and surrounding states and how the Air Force intends to utilize these maps in its process for reviewing wind power projects.
The second involves the Air Force’s cooperation with the state and other agencies.
The third issue is the development of a standardized, centralized process for reviewing wind power projects.
The military’s stoplight maps help review wind projects, according to Reid’s letter.
“The review process would be more fair and effective,” Reid argues, “if the state as well as other federal agencies, wind power developers and the public had access to relevant military stoplight maps and an explanation of how the maps would be used in review projects.”
Reid states in the letter that he is “confident that a clear, timely, and predictable process for engaging the Air Force, the Department of Defense and other Federal agencies in siting wind projects could be developed.”
Reid also wants a working group formed with a plan to meet regularly until all parties agree and understand the new streamlined process for reviewing new wind project sites.
The group would also conduct an agency-by-agency review of existing procedures and requirements for siting new wind projects, develop procedures for determining what each agency’s interests are with respect to new wind projects; identify and understand how wind projects could interfere with Air Force or other military operations; utilize stoplight maps in reviewing wind projects; and determine mitigation methods that would allow the approval of wind projects.
Such a group would also publish a list of mitigation strategies and technologies to ensure they are accessible to all potential wind power developers.
In the letter, Reid urges a primary point of contact to be desginated for the Air Force and defense wide if possible with the authority to make decisions in the matter.
Reid says such a measure would “streamline” the Air Force’s review of new wind projects by ensuring that all interested parties may bring their questions to a single decisionmaker within the Air Force.
3 January 2008
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