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House committee advances bill placing location restrictions on new wind farms  

Credit:  By Joe Wertz | StateImpact Oklahoma | February 26, 2015 | stateimpact.npr.org ~~

A bill adding new regulations and oversight of Oklahoma’s booming wind industry passed a House committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 1549, one of several bills filed in the 2015 Legislature that target the wind industry, places limits on where companies can build new wind farms. The proposed measure would prevent new wind farms from being built near schools, hospitals or airports.

The bill was written by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville. He says landowners and the wind industry were consulted when crafting the legislation.

“There’s no hidden agenda there,” he told StateImpact. “I’m a schoolman, I have family that may periodically have to go to a hospital, and I don’t want our pilots worried about it.”

The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 11-2 in approving HB 1549. Representatives Mike Brown, D-Tahlequah, and Tommy Hardin, R-Madill, voted not to pass the bill out of committee.

Under the bill, wind companies would have to notify nearby landowners before turbine construction and hold a public hearing. The measure also requires stricter proof of wind project financing and turbine decommissioning.

Sears has authored additional legislation that reels in tax credits used by wind companies.

The House Utilities Committee on Wednesday withdrew another wind industry bill over concerns that it would threaten the Plans and Eastern Clean Line, a proposal that could connect Oklahoma’s panhandle to the southeastern U.S. power grid with a 700-mile high-voltage direct current transmission line.

Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada, pulled the bill, the Associated Press reports:

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s chief of staff, Melissa Houston, says her office requested the bill amid concerns from Oklahoma landowners about the use of federal eminent domain powers to acquire land for the project.

Source:  By Joe Wertz | StateImpact Oklahoma | February 26, 2015 | stateimpact.npr.org

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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