Articles filed under Safety from Texas
"No one is talking about banning wind turbines, but we do have to be careful when we talk about their proximity" to bases, said Cornyn, R-Texas. "We're just trying to make sure it's safe for our pilots, both those in the military and those who use civilian aircraft."
Sheppard Air Force Base has asserted that proposed wind developments in nearby Clay County would interfere with its radar operation and flight training missions. If erected, wind turbines in a 25-mile radius of the base could cause Sheppard's mission to be moved to another military installation, a move that likely would be a crippling blow to the Wichita Falls economy.
The increasing case number may be a harbinger of a new trend — in Texas and other states, legislators are moving to create buffer zones between military installations and new energy developments. That means more reviews are being sent to the clearinghouse for rulings.
While at least two Texas legislators are drafting proposals that would limit the construction of wind turbines near military bases, a similar effort is underway in North Carolina.
Alterra and their developer, Horn Wind PM LLC, also are entering into informal talks with the Federal Aviation Administration and a Department of Defense agency overseeing obstructional analyses for the military. No construction plans have been sent by Horn Wind or Alterra to the FAA, which would trigger a formal analysis of potential hazards.
There are still questions about the cumulative impacts of wind farms — the proposed site, combined with existing and future sites — on the radar system, as well as the proximity of the planned wind farm to the airport, said Kim Bridger-Hunt, spokeswoman for the airport. The airport plans to petition the FAA to review its findings, she added.
Firefighters on scene said there wasn’t much they could do except let it burn out.
New York State can’t allow the installation of these wind turbines to threaten Air Force pilot safety, and Cuomo can’t run the risk of giving the base closing commission any reason to shut down NFARS. Lives are at risk; jobs are at risk; the future of the air base is at risk.
"There are more instances of wind farms near bases due to growth in the highly subsidized renewable energy sector and they present a unique and growing challenge to our military installations," Campbell wrote in an email to the Times Record News. "It is my priority as chairman to ensure our military installations remain mission capable, both for our nation's security and the huge economic impact they bring to communities across our state."
In the past, the Department of Defense and wind energy developers in Texas have been able to work out agreements when conflicts have arisen between the two parties, contracts show.
"We're actually making our military installations more vulnerable to closing when our military bases are situated surrounded by wind turbines," Campbell said. "We don't want that." "If we don't have enough pilots, then anything that affects pilot training ... is a threat to our defense," she added.
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.
Vocal opponents to the wind farm plans have come forward in past months, but last week another adversary emerged: Sheppard Air Force Base.
Earlier plans for a 175-turbine wind farm drew criticism last year from Chapman Ranch residents who were concerned about diminishing property values, safety and changes to the area's aesthetics. Those plans were submitted to the FAA before Apex voluntarily withdrew all wind turbines in the blueprint from the new Corpus Christi City limits, after the city annexed the property last year. A study determined the project could interfere with radar.
City leaders worked hard to block this wind farm eventually annexing a lot of the property out there to have more control over what built. Ironically the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now blocked it on its own.
"We designed this house for my young boys to enjoy being out in the country, and every year that we wait to build my boys get a year older," Torno said. "We're missing out on opportunities to enjoy our property out there."
Traffic was snarled Monday afternoon on U.S. 59 in northeast Houston after a piece of a wind turbine fell off a big rig during a crash.
The turbine, located south of Loving Road in the Cox Mountain vicinity, part of the Senate Wind Farm, burned as firefighters monitored it.
Captain Mark McLaughlin is a consultant with the Department of Defense, and he appeared during public comment at Tuesday's council meeting, where they had planned a final vote on the southside annexation. McLaughlin said the base had problems with many of the current wind farms in the area, and he thinks the Chapman Ranch wind farm would create even more problems for air traffic controllers in the Coastal Bend.
The future of the Delaware Mountains wind farms – for years, a source of more than a dozen high-paying local jobs – is in limbo, six weeks after a powerful ice storm took down transmission poles and other crucial infrastructure at the facility. The wind farms have been off-line since the ice storm, which struck the weekend of Nov. 23 and dealt a serious blow to electrical infrastructure across the region.