CASPER, Wyo. – House Bill 217 aims to ban the disposal of wind turbine blades in Wyoming landfills. Under the proposal, the blades could be discarded at facilities which reuse, recycle, break down or repurpose the blades.
The original version of the bill would have put the proposed rules into effect on July 1, 2020 if the legislation were to be signed into law. House District 58 Representative Pat Sweeney proposed an amendment to the bill on Tuesday, Feb. 25 that would push back the effective date of the bill to July 1, 2024.
“15% of the components [of wind turbines] are not recyclable,” he said. “If this went into place right now, those components would have to be shipped out of state because it is a total ban.”
On Monday, Sweeney expressed concern that companies might choose to pass the cost of shipping the blades out of state onto customers.
The blades of wind turbines are not recyclable because they are made from fiberglass. Some blades have been disposed at the Casper Regional Landfill, generating revenue for the city.
House District 59 Representative Bunky Loucks has asked his fellow legislators to support the disposal ban. He said that he considered Sweeney’s amendment friendly.
The amendment was adopted before the House passed the bill on second reading on Tuesday. The House passed another bill on second reading Tuesday related to wind turbine disposal.
House Bill 129 would allow only the base material of blades and towers to be buried in abandoned coal mine sites, requiring “the removal of all mechanical, electrical and other materials from the decommissioned wind turbine blades and towers.”
“These are not parts that can be recycled,” House District 03 Representative Eric Barlow said on Monday. “It keeps them out of the land fills. It maybe generate a little bit of a revenue for those coal mines.”
If either bill passes on third reading, it will move to the Senate for consideration.
“We need to re-purpose these blades,” Loucks said ahead of the first reading vote on Monday. “There is lots of new research out there saying that these can be recycled. It is in the best interest of the state to not pile them up into our landfills. Have them re-purposed.”
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