GREEN BAY – While the state continues to try to iron out uniform regulations when it comes to the use of wind energy, one area lawmaker is taking matters into his own hands.
But wind supporters feel it’ll ultimately cost the state jobs.
Large wind turbines are becoming a common sight across the nation, as communities turn to the renewable energy for power.
But projected wind farms in Wisconsin hit a bit of a snag early last year, when the state voted to suspend the Public Service Commission’s statewide rules, sending the commission back to the drawing board.
“We’re talking about putting up 40-story buildings and saying, eh, just put it up, and that’s not right,” said State Sen. Frank Lasee (R-De Pere).
Lasee is hoping to jump-start some new regulations.
Instead of statewide standards, Lasee’s proposal would give each individual community the power to create its own requirements for how close the turbines could be to buildings.
“This would be for local governments, so it goes back to a process of zoning for local governments, so they’d have to establish an ordinance and go through the proper hearing process, proper public input,” Lasee explained.
Sen. Lasee introduced the bill this week, but it has yet to be debated on the Senate floor.
But some already feel the bill would only deter potential companies from coming to Wisconsin.
“We would oppose any move to create a patch-work of different regulations throughout Wisconsin,” said Amber Smith with Clean Wisconsin. “We already know of several wind companies that have left Wisconsin and abandoned projects in Wisconsin because of the patch-work of regulations.”
Smith says a unified rule is what Wisconsin needs, and this would only make things more complicated.
“Having a statewide standard protects everyone, the health of everyone, the health of the environment and local regulations in and of themselves can’t necessarily do that,” Smith said.
And the legislature will soon decide whether that’s the case or not.
Lasee hopes to begin debating the bill before the end of the current session this Spring.
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