The legislative attack on wind power intensified in the closing days of the session’s first half.
Amendments cropped up that would have imposed a moratorium on wind energy installations in the state.
This took wind energy advocates and many senators by surprise. It came in what is known as a “hog house” amendment that removes previous language and add new language and different provisions.
Sen. Dwight Cook of Mandan said he intended the moratorium “to save coal.”
The moratorium amendment failed on a voice vote.
This left only a request for a study of wind energy by the interim Legislative Management Committee. That passed the Senate 42-4.
That leaves the matter to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Mike Brandenburg of Edgeley, a supporter of wind power, said he expects renewed efforts to reduce the expansion of wind power in the state.
The Senate bill could become a vehicle for this kind of “mischief,” he said, because it could face new amendments in the House.
The bill number is SB2314.
A companion bill, 2313, also was passed and sent to the House. This establishes a program in the state Agriculture Department to help landowners with wind energy easements.
Other wind power bills were passed by the House and face action in the Senate:
HB 1181 increases the rights of landowners granting leases for wind energy development. It passed 89-3.
HB 1378 requires lighting wind towers so that aircraft can detect them. This passed 74-17.