A joint committee of the Wisconsin state legislature has voted to roll back wind farm siting rules developed in a multi-stakeholder process, immediately threatening all future wind power development as well as job growth, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports.
The 10-member Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules suspended the Wisconsin Wind Siting Rules, known as PSC128, on Tuesday – the same day they were set to take effect. This decision was made despite the fact that the rules had been developed by consensus over the course of two years through a collaborative process, according to AWEA.
Numerous organizations and hundreds of major stakeholders, including business representatives and landowners, contributed to the development of the PSC128 rules, which created a level playing field for developing the state's rich wind resources, while still protecting the health and safety of its citizens and neighbors.
‘These rules were developed collaboratively by the wind energy industry and all major stakeholders in Wisconsin, based on input from six public hearings and two years of information gathering, to protect the interests of all involved parties,’ says AWEA's director of business development Jeff Anthony, who is also a resident of Wisconsin. ‘This vote today represents an unfortunate turn of events based on politics and a blatant disregard for not only the facts, gleaned from real-world experience of siting wind farms across the rest of the country, but also the necessity for a more diversified electric-generating portfolio. Wisconsin has taken a giant step backward.’
The Wisconsin wind siting bill passed the state legislature with strong bipartisan support in 2009, and the rules were finalized by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin in December 2010.
The PSC128 rules that were set to take effect in Wisconsin would have been among the most restrictive and detailed rules in the entire country on siting wind turbines, according to AWEA.
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association