Article

Gone with the wind

The Gillespie County Commissioners have decided not to pursue local wind farm regulation and will not hold a public meeting on the matter, according to County Judge Mark Stroeher. ...State Senator Troy Fraser filed legislation last month to allow the county commissioners to restrict wind farm construction and said his office immediately began receiving complaints from landowners worried that their property rights might be violated.

The Gillespie County Commissioners have decided not to pursue local wind farm regulation and will not hold a public meeting on the matter, according to County Judge Mark Stroeher.

"Emotions run so high," Stroeher said. "We didn't feel it would be a worthwhile meeting to hold."

State Senator Troy Fraser filed legislation last month to allow the county commissioners to restrict wind farm construction and said his office immediately began receiving complaints from landowners worried that their property rights might be violated.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1226, was directed solely at Gillespie County and would have allowed the commissioners to ban wind farm construction from parts of the county.

When the bill was filed in early March, Fraser said: "I think we have a good chance of getting it through my committee and through the senate. It is very clear that the county judge and commissioners are asking for this authority."

Due to heavy opposition from landowners, Fraser asked Stroeher to hold a public meeting with landowners and those concerned about wind farm development.

Stroeher said he did not anticipate opposition to the bill and decided that a meeting would not be... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The Gillespie County Commissioners have decided not to pursue local wind farm regulation and will not hold a public meeting on the matter, according to County Judge Mark Stroeher.

"Emotions run so high," Stroeher said. "We didn't feel it would be a worthwhile meeting to hold."

State Senator Troy Fraser filed legislation last month to allow the county commissioners to restrict wind farm construction and said his office immediately began receiving complaints from landowners worried that their property rights might be violated.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1226, was directed solely at Gillespie County and would have allowed the commissioners to ban wind farm construction from parts of the county.

When the bill was filed in early March, Fraser said: "I think we have a good chance of getting it through my committee and through the senate. It is very clear that the county judge and commissioners are asking for this authority."

Due to heavy opposition from landowners, Fraser asked Stroeher to hold a public meeting with landowners and those concerned about wind farm development.

Stroeher said he did not anticipate opposition to the bill and decided that a meeting would not be productive.

Without nearly unanimous local support, Stroeher said Fraser will likely not try to get the bill through the state senate.

"What's kind of strange to me," Stroeher said, "is that most of the people who have called and said they're opposed to the bill have told me that they're still opposed to wind farms."

Representatives from Fraser's office said the future of wind farm legislation rested with Gillespie County.

"The ball is in the county's court at this point," Janice McCoy, Fraser's chief of staff, said. "If they want this to happen, they need to have a meeting."

Ms. McCoy said Fraser would not pursue the bill if local officials did not hold a meeting and indicate that there is strong local support for protective legislation.

Despite concerns over property rights, local opposition to wind farm construction continues.

"We're trying to get the focus back on wind issues," Robert Weatherford, president of Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment said. "We believe there is a clear consensus in Gillespie County that wind development does not make sense here."

Fraser has also filed Senate Bill 1227 which would allow counties that do not want local wind farm construction to register with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Wind farm companies would then be required to check this list before building new projects and acknowledge to local officials that they have done so.

Ms. McCoy said the future of that legislation was also uncertain.


Source: http://www.fredericksburgst...

APR 15 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/19844-gone-with-the-wind
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