Library from Oklahoma
Legislation that would put a moratorium on wind farms east of Interstate 35 passed the Oklahoma Senate last week and now heads to the House. ...supporters of legislation calling for the three-year stoppage said the industry is relatively unregulated and more study is needed.
Senators voted 32-8 to pass Senate Bill 1440, which would halt wind developments east of Interstate 35 until 2017 in areas that have poor wind resources. Lobbyists for the wind industry said the bill could harm developments statewide and interferes with private leasing contracts.
The Senate Energy Committee passed Senate Bill 1440 by a vote of 10-3 Thursday. The bill, by Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, also directs a study of the appropriateness of wind farms in eastern Oklahoma, where it says wind resources are “less than fair.”
In 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the company's $2 billion proposal to transmit wind power from the Great Plains to Memphis and the Southeast. That ruling authorized the Houston -based firm to begin negotiating transmission service agreements with potential buyers of the power, including TVA .
As wind farm developments expand into new areas of Oklahoma, conflict has grown between landowners who want wind turbines and those who want to limit development. The disputes have led to calls for greater regulation from state lawmakers.
Wyrick said his bill was a request from several constituents in his district in the northeast part of the state. The bill was an attempt to start a conversation as wind farm developments move closer to populated areas and outside the western half of the state where the wind potential is greater, he said. “It was kind of a surprise to me that there were proposals to move those fields of wind energy that far east,” Wyrick said. “When the people that I represent directly have concerns, then I have concerns.
The Oklahoma Senate Energy Committee heard from wind development opponents and supporters and moved along legislation that would strengthen existing law for the decommissioning of wind turbines and add permitting requirements at the local level. ...Tammy Huffstutlar now has 11 turbines nearby. "The flicker turns formerly pleasant sunrises and sunsets into nausea-filled bouts of vertigo. The audible noise from the turbines makes our outdoor activities tension-filled periods, which are cut short to minimize the unpleasant experience.”
“There are airplanes, there’s farm planes,” he said. “What if you have med flights to somebody that’s a farmer or somebody in that area that’s had health problems? They would be in trouble flying into those without their blinking lights.” Atlantic Power owns and operates this wind farm and their crews are currently working on restoring the damaged power lines and poles.
The rule shields producers enrolled in the plan and operating in compliance with it from punishment for the accidental death or disturbance of the bird the EPA has targeted for listing as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Apex Clean Energy wants to bring a $470 [million] dollar project with a promise of 200 jobs. But some residents weren’t hypnotized by the idea of five hundred foot units around town, possibly creating noise and an eye sore. Those concerns launched a 15 month battle.
The federal government's decision to allow companies to seek authorization to kill and harm golden and bald eagles without penalty has come under fire from the Osage Nation. The wind energy industry requested the change, and President Barack Obama's administration announced its decision last week.
President Barack Obama has given the Wind Capital Group the green light to go ahead and build 94 windmills near Burbank, in Osage County.
In response to concerns about dangers the turbines represent to birds and other flying creatures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to propose changes to Golden and Bald Eagle Management Regulations. Several tribes and Native American organizations have joined with the Osages in planning opposition to any changes that would call for the removal or relocating of eagle nests.“Moving the nests could be detrimental, and cannot be tolerated”
The problem is the 150 foot-long blades spinning atop a wind turbine and the undulating, ominous clouds that accompany severe weather look the same to the computers that digest and display weather radar data, says Ed Ciardi, a meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Mike Fuhr, state director of The Nature Conservancy, met with Osage Nation leaders Tuesday during the National Congress of American Indians at the Cox Business Center in downtown Tulsa to sign a memorandum of understanding that they would work in tandem to protect prairie lands in Oklahoma.
In 2012, there were an estimated 34,000 lesser prairie chickens across their grassland range, which includes portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. Kansas is home to about half the country's lesser prairie chicken population. This year's survey showed the bird's population has declined by about half, down to an estimated 17,600 total in the five states.
"No one should view this project as a done-deal," explained BigHorse. "There are still multiple federal approvals the developer, whomever it may ultimately be, must obtain. These federal reviews and approvals are meant to protect the eagles that fly over our lands and our cultural heritage. The Osage Nation will do whatever it takes to ensure our resources are protected."
Huffstutlar has a dangerous heart condition that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Ricks says medication kept it in check for eight years, until the wind turbines appeared. ...The Huffstutlar's say they're selling their home and are moving away.
Nathan Baker, a staff attorney for FOCG, said the Aug. 29 Supreme Court decision “isn’t the final say in the matter.” “According to the Supreme Court, several issues are yet to be resolved, including wildlife mitigation and forest practices. In the words of the Supreme Court, these issues are not yet ‘ripe.’” Baker added, “Friends and SOSA will continue to participate in the public process on these and other unresolved issues.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has scheduled a Sept. 12 meeting with representatives from the Osage Nation and Wind Capitol Group, agency officials said. More than a dozen eagle-take applications have been filed with the federal agency since Wind Capital submitted its request in October 2012 - but, to date, no permits have been granted. Officials expect the Osage Wind application to be the first considered.