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Proposed wind farm could impact

Jennifer Harris, Laughlin Air Force Base chief of asset optimization, told members of the City of Del Rio-Val Verde County Joint Airport Zoning Board during a meeting Wednesday, “Laughlin Air Force Base is concerned that the proposed wind farm in the Anacacho Mountain Range (in Kinney County) may have a significant negative impact on its core flying mission.” Harris told Joint Airport Zoning Board members that Laughlin does not oppose the development of wind farms and other sources of renewable energy sources “that do not adversely impact military readiness or training of U.S. armed forces.”

A proposed wind energy "farm" in Kinney County could affect thousand of flying hours and sorties for Laughlin Air Force Base student pilots, as well as critical weather radar, LAFB officials told members of the Joint Airport Zoning Board this week.

Jennifer Harris, Laughlin Air Force Base chief of asset optimization, told members of the City of Del Rio-Val Verde County Joint Airport Zoning Board during a meeting Wednesday, "Laughlin Air Force Base is concerned that the proposed wind farm in the Anacacho Mountain Range (in Kinney County) may have a significant negative impact on its core flying mission."

Harris told Joint Airport Zoning Board members Lee Weathersbee, Robert Kusenberger and John Ludlum that Laughlin does not oppose the development of wind farms and other sources of renewable energy sources "that do not adversely impact military readiness or training of U.S. armed forces."

Harris told Joint Airport Zoning Board members she gave a similar presentation to members of the Kinney County Commissioners Court recently, just prior to the court's vote to approve a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) for the wind farm project.

Harris said Laughlin has identified "numerous... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A proposed wind energy "farm" in Kinney County could affect thousand of flying hours and sorties for Laughlin Air Force Base student pilots, as well as critical weather radar, LAFB officials told members of the Joint Airport Zoning Board this week.

Jennifer Harris, Laughlin Air Force Base chief of asset optimization, told members of the City of Del Rio-Val Verde County Joint Airport Zoning Board during a meeting Wednesday, "Laughlin Air Force Base is concerned that the proposed wind farm in the Anacacho Mountain Range (in Kinney County) may have a significant negative impact on its core flying mission."

Harris told Joint Airport Zoning Board members Lee Weathersbee, Robert Kusenberger and John Ludlum that Laughlin does not oppose the development of wind farms and other sources of renewable energy sources "that do not adversely impact military readiness or training of U.S. armed forces."

Harris told Joint Airport Zoning Board members she gave a similar presentation to members of the Kinney County Commissioners Court recently, just prior to the court's vote to approve a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) for the wind farm project.

Harris said Laughlin has identified "numerous potential mission impacts" that could accrue from the proposed Anacacho wind farm, to be developed by a company called EC&R Southwest LLC.

". . . admittedly our response is limited in scope, based upon a lack of specific information we have received about the scope and nature of the project itself," Harris said.

Harris told members of the Joint Airport Zoning Board the proposed construction of wind turbines in Kinney County "would appear to coincide directly with established military training routes" for Laughlin's student pilots and "may also create a significant impact on terminal instrument procedures" used by the base.

"The minimum vectoring altitude charts, changing the altitudes at which air traffic control can assign aircraft in that area, will likely be impacted. This generally affects aircraft en route to San Antonio and inbound to Del Rio International Airport," she said.

Harris added the proposed wind farm may necessitate a reduction in speed at which Laughlin's air traffic controllers can descend military training aircraft en route to the base's auxiliary field from military operation areas located north of that field.

She noted Laughlin currently flies "an average of 132 touch-and-goes daily at our auxiliary airfield."

"Further, the minimum holding altitude for aircraft holding at three of our holding fixes would likely be impacted, depending one the height of the proposed wind turbines. In effect, a few hundred feet in new height will cause an exponential increase of a thousand- foot change in altitude and holding ability. This causes a significant loss in air traffic control's ability to maintain aircraft separation for safety purposes and reduces the number of aircraft that can be in the area at one time," Harris told the Joint Airport Zoning Board.

"Laughlin must fly thousands of sorties per year in order to fulfill our mission training requirements and actions that reduce the number of sorties or lengthen the time it takes to get training missions completed will negatively impact Laughlin's overall mission objectives," Harris said.

She told the Joint Airport Zoning Board "perhaps an even greater impact could be the blocking of our military training routes."

"Based on current estimates and flying regulations, if the proposed wind farm is built, aircraft will have to climb for six miles of the training routes to avoid these large, tall obstacles, which will be counterproductive to training conducted normally at 500 feet above ground level," Harris said.

Added to a restriction that already exists on that training route, Harris said, the construction of the wind farm, "will render training on these routes virtually ineffective."

"Military training routes and low-level operations within those areas are critical training needs for our student pilots. The proposed wind farm has the very potential to effect over 2,400 sorties a year and 1,600 flying hours," Harris said.

She told members of the Joint Airport Zoning Board that she and other Laughlin representatives present at the Kinney County Commissioners Court meeting recommended postponing the decision to designate the property where the wind farm will be sited as a TIRZ "until further specific details of the proposed wind farm are reviewed and discussed between EC&R and the Department of the Air Force."

However, she told the board, the Kinney County Commissioners Court approved the designation.


Source: http://www.delrionewsherald...

AUG 9 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21654-proposed-wind-farm-could-impact
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