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Amendment added to energy-policy bill

A bill that would create a state energy policy has been amended to give the state more power to trump local zoning laws.

The bill introduced by Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, at first required the State Corporation Commission to select suitable sites for wind farms, nuclear power plants and other energy facilities, pre-empting local zoning authority.

At a meeting yesterday of a Senate subcommittee scrutinizing the bill, Wagner amended that to include zoning pre-emption for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, storage plants and for electric power substations.

To address local concerns, Wagner has changed the bill to require the SCC to consider local land-use plans when choosing sites for energy facilities, although zoning still would be pre-empted.

Speaking for his bill, Wagner said the state needs to be ahead of the game in planning for its energy future. "We ought not just leave it to the willy-nilly."

Wagner's bill also would support offshore natural-gas development, encourage energy efficiency and conservation, and support research into new energy sources.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine supports the policy overall but has concerns about some particulars, said Steve Walz of the state Department of Mines,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
The bill introduced by Sen. Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach, at first required the State Corporation Commission to select suitable sites for wind farms, nuclear power plants and other energy facilities, pre-empting local zoning authority.

At a meeting yesterday of a Senate subcommittee scrutinizing the bill, Wagner amended that to include zoning pre-emption for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, storage plants and for electric power substations.

To address local concerns, Wagner has changed the bill to require the SCC to consider local land-use plans when choosing sites for energy facilities, although zoning still would be pre-empted.

Speaking for his bill, Wagner said the state needs to be ahead of the game in planning for its energy future. "We ought not just leave it to the willy-nilly."

Wagner's bill also would support offshore natural-gas development, encourage energy efficiency and conservation, and support research into new energy sources.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine supports the policy overall but has concerns about some particulars, said Steve Walz of the state Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Overriding local land-use plans and the budgetary impact of energy tax breaks are concerns.

Virginia energy companies and manufacturers support the bill.

Michael Town of the Sierra Club said his group supports creation of a state energy policy but opposes offshore drilling because of the threat it poses to ocean and coastal life.

Source: http://www.timesdispatch.co...

JAN 27 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1078-amendment-added-to-energy-policy-bill
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