RICHMOND – A bill that would have added new regulations on wind turbines that generate electricity was defeated 20-18 in the state Senate on Wednesday.
Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, said the bill was intended to support developing renewable energy in a responsible manner without harming birds and bats, which Garrett and others argue can be lethal to the creatures.
Garrett, whose district includes part of Lynchburg, said Senate bill 123 was not anti-wind turbine and would not prohibit development of renewable resources.
Sens. Frank Wagner and Tom Cosgrove, both Republicans from Virginia Beach, opposed the bill on the Senate floor.
Wagner said a wind-turbine park off the Virginia coast is awaiting a decision by federal agencies, bird-flight patterns already were considered, and adding new regulations would harm the project.
“We have ample and sufficient regulations on the books right now to ensure these kinds of things don’t happen,” Wagner said.
Cosgrove said Garrett’s bill would require the Department of Environmental Quality to write new regulations, and that senators could not know in advance what the rules would do.
“I thought we’ve been trying to get away from that,” Cosgrove said.
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