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Supes wind up rejecting ban on wind turbines

The Solano County Board of Supervisors shot down a proposal Tuesday to place a temporary ban on wind turbine projects in the Montezuma Hills near Travis Air Force Base.

The supervisors voted 4-1 against a motion by Supervisor Barbara Kondylis to ban future wind turbine projects until Travis can install a new radar system.

Although the current 700 or so turbines already cause radar issues, the Solano County Planning Commission recently approved adding 75 new turbines because it was discovered they would not cause additional problems. Those problems include images of small planes disappearing from the radar and others appearing when the planes weren’t actually there.

The latest turbine project had been stalled for more than a year after Travis Wing Commander Col. Steven Arquiette asked for a delay of all turbine projects until completion in October of the installation of a new radar system. His request was lifted earlier this year after his Air Force superiors concluded the newest project wouldn’t cause additional problems.

Kondylis followed the process and said that although she is in favor of alternative energy sources, she isn’t in favor of posing a threat to Travis.

Joining Kondylis in asking for a temporary ban was Skip Thomson, a former supervisor and a current supervisor candidate in the June primary, who said the board should have done something similar to the ban when the process started.

“I want to know if it’s time for you guys to step up, or if the citizens have to do it for you,” Thomson said.

Supervisor Mike Reagan said that no applicants have filed for a turbine project that would be completed by the time the new radar system is installed and the ban isn’t necessary. Reagan was joined by other board members who called the issue “moot.”

“If it is moot, then what’s the harm?” Kondylis said. “I prefer to err on the side of safety. I’m very disappointed we aren’t taking these steps.

Supervisor Jim Spering said he was against the turbine ban because the issue was selective and was being used by Kondylis and Thomson as something for their campaign. Kondylis is up for re-election.

“If there is anyone in this room that doesn’t think there is political posturing going on, they are naive,” Spering said. “When people are running for office, these issues come up. This is very typical of what’s going to be happening.”

Supervisor John Silva said there are members of the public who will try and equate voting against the motion with not supporting Travis.

“I take exception to anyone that comes to the podium and says we don’t support Travis,” Silva said.

By Danny Bernardini

The Reporter

23 April 2008