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Wind Energy Debate Continues
Kristyn Ecochard, May 25, 2007 (UPI)
Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., chairman, House Committee on Natural Resources; Gregory Wetstone, senior director, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA); Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. & Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif.; Henri Bissan, Bureau of Land Management (BLM); Melissa Simpson, U.S. Forest Service/Department of Agriculture; Vickie VanZandt, Department of Energy; Timothy Keeney, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
There is debate on how best to facilitate wind energy project implementation. Federal standardization is controversial. (Example: Rahall’s Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act.)
Rahall’s act introduced May 23. The bill is under review. Mark up will begin after Memorial Day.
Rahall’s act introduced to House Committee on Natural Resources.
- Rahall introduced the Energy Policy Reform and Revitalization Act: Enforced by the Departments of Interior and Energy, strict regulations with fines/jail time for new and existing non-compliant turbine owners. Rahall’s act has met serious opposition from wind energy experts and advocates. Many believe it is an example of legislation written without an understanding of wind energy technology.
- Rahall seeks to protect federal land use but committee members seek to do so without impeding energy development. Witnesses told the committee the bill has redundant language and changes programs under way. Biofuel, hydro and wind may all be slowed.
- Wetstone: "Wind power is an essential element of the climate change solution…Further increasing the percentage of electricity wind produces in America will provide much-needed price stability, generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue for farmers and rural communities, and create tens of thousands of jobs…We should be looking for ways to accelerate wind energy's growth rather than putting roadblocks in its path."
- Rahall: "I'm not against wind energy…But as it grows, and there's no denying that it is growing, there's increasing resistance due to lack of regulations and the adverse effect on wildlife, reported by the Government Accountability Office and the National Research Council…The Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act are not being fully complied with and the legislation seeks to enable the wind energy industry to grow in a way that's compatible with those federal laws."
- Wetstone: "Wind energy requires no mining or drilling for fuel, no fuel transportation, no hazardous waste disposal, and no water use; and wind energy generates electricity without toxic pollutants like mercury, without greenhouse pollution, and of course without the conventional pollutants that cause smog and acid rain…Is this really an energy sector Congress should close down, for environmental reasons?"
- Miller: "We have a lot of input but what we really want is a good fuel that makes economical and environmental sense and we ought to let people go to work and figure out how to come up with that product…"
- Bissan: "I don't see why the process, which is working, should be changed…"