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Oklahoma Senate leader requests study on state’s wind energy

OKLAHOMA CITY – Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman has asked the Corporation Commission to conduct a study of wind energy in Oklahoma.

The action comes after Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said his Senate Bill 1440, which would have created a three-year moratorium on the building of wind farms east of Interstate 35, would not proceed.

In a letter to the three members of the panel on Monday, Bingman said concerns and questions have arisen regarding several aspects of wind energy development in the state.

He asked the commission to study whether there is a need to place the location of new facilities under the oversight of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission or some other agency.

If so, he wants to know what factors should be considered, such as the development of guidelines for proper decommissioning of wind energy facilities, along with possible costs and enforcement mechanisms for failure to complete the decommission. He also asked the Corporation Commission to consider whether procedures should be required to notify land owners.

“I am not requesting issues regarding tax incentives or landowner private rights be discussed, as those raise distinct concerns that would be difficult to address” in the context of the study, Bingman wrote.

The Corporation Commission recently discussed a possible study, and there was a willingness to do it, Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy said. She added that the study could result in recommendations.

The process would be open to those interested in the issue, she said.
Claremore businessman Frank Robson, founder of the Oklahoma Property Rights Association, commended Bingman for seeking the study, adding that it would evaluate and recommend appropriate regulations of the placement and operation of industrial wind turbines to protect the health and safety of residents and to maintain the beauty and natural environment of the state.

“There are many problems with the way this industry operates in Oklahoma, but, at a minimum, sensible laws are needed to safeguard our land and communities to ensure wind farms are appropriately located, safely operated and well-maintained,” Robson said. “Turbines shouldn’t be built near neighborhoods and homes, and the state should ensure there is adequate funding to remove abandoned wind farms.

“Today, the industry can do what they want, how they want, when they want, whenever they want, without consideration for the impact to Oklahoma.”