CORPUS CHRISTI - Some of Texas' most powerful lawmakers today met at City Hall to hear how they can help solve the gridlock over how - or whether - wind turbine projects affect naval flight training programs in the Coastal Bend.
Members of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations, including Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, listened as naval leaders, city officials and wind turbine representatives shared their perspectives.
How leaders address concerns over wind turbine development has far-reaching ramifications for the future of flight training programs at NAS-Corpus Christi and NAS-Kingsville at a time when Base Realignment and Closures are on everyone's lips.
Last year, the City of Corpus Christi annexed 10,000 acres south of town in an attempt to stop a wind turbine project at Chapman Ranch.
The cities of Corpus Christi and Kingsville both have memorandums of understanding with wind farm developers that lay ground rules for addressing concerns.
The memorandums do not open the door for future development.
A representative from Apex Clean Energy told leaders regulatory changes can have huge impacts on wind turbine farms. He said changes to local regulations could mean the companies must seek other locations that may not meet their needs.
One concern the company has about a change in regulations is the difficulty with moving a project to another location that may not meet all their needs.
NAS-Kingsville Commanding Officer Captain Christopher Misner told lawmakers that Rear Adm. Del Bull, Chief of Naval Flight Training Operations, has ordered a study of how multiple wind turbine projects might affect flight operations. He gave no timeline for the study.
Lawmakers said today's meeting will help them frame legislation for the 2017 session in Austin.