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Legislator suspected wind industry behind tracking device

MOORE – The state legislator who found a GPS tracker on his pickup suspects the wind industry is behind it.

Rep. Mark McBride spoke to a Moore police officer about his suspicions late Dec. 4 after finding the tracking device underneath his pickup.

“He advised me of the possibility of a wind farm corporation being connected to placing the GPS on his vehicle,” Officer Francisco Franco wrote in a police information report.

The officer wrote McBride explained he “is in the process of writing legislation against wind farms which could influence wind farm corporations negatively.”

The president of The Wind Coalition called McBride reckless for making that accusation.

“I feel confident that this industry would not be a party to any kind of illegal activity,” Jeffrey Clark said Wednesday night. “We have certainly taken issue with positions that he has taken in the past. But we’re in the business of debating issues and participating in elections.”

Police released the report Wednesday afternoon after earlier refusing to make it public.

“OSBI contacted us today and advised releasing the info would not affect their investigation so here is the report,” a police spokesman said.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation confirmed Tuesday its special agents “are currently running leads.” The OSBI described the investigation as involving “a threat” against McBride.

The legislator strongly criticized the wind industry in opinion pieces published in September in The Oklahoman and The Journal Record.

He wrote that he would be introducing legislation imposing a gross production tax on wind energy. He estimated the assessment would bring in $100 million annually to fund teacher raises.

“It is time for Big Wind to pay its taxes, just like the rest of us,” he wrote.

McBride, R-Moore, is vice chairman of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He has repeated his suspicions about the wind industry to others more recently but was not specific in interviews this week with the media.

“This is definitely about me as a legislator … and some positions I’ve taken on certain issues,” he told The Oklahoman on Tuesday.

The high-tech device was attached by a magnet to the bottom of the pickup’s bed near the bumper, McBride said.

He filed an invasion of privacy lawsuit Dec. 22 over the incident and began legal steps to identify who was responsible.