Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Department of Interior Opposes Anti-Wind Provision of Rahall Bill

The U.S. Department of the Interior weighed in yesterday on the anti-wind-power section of legislation sponsored by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall II and currently pending before the committee.

Said the Department's letter in part,

Subtitle D. Ensuring Safety of Wildlife With Respect to Wind Energy.

We recommend subtitle D be deleted.

Sections 231 through 235 would require the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Fish and Wildlife Service, to promultate regulations that establish minimum standards for siting, construction, monitoring, and adaptive management that must be satisfied by all wind projects to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse impacts on migratory birds, bats, and other wildlife. The regulations would need to be promulgated within 180 days after enactment of H.R. 2337. We agree it is important that wind power facilities seek to minimize and mitigate adverse impacts on migratory birds, bats and other wildlife. In fact, the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and other federal statutes must be complied with. However, the Department of the Interior opposes this subtitle as its enactment would be premature.

On March 13, 2007, the Secretary of the Interior announced the Formation of a Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Committee, the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee, to look at the very issues raised under Section 231. The FACA Committee consists of a broad group of representatives, including those from State and Federal agencies, environmental groups, and industry organizations. They will be carefully considering all of the issues related to wind energy facilities and making recommendations whether the guidelines can be voluntary, mandatory, or may require regulations. Therefore, we believe it is premature for Congress to legislate this process and instead we would like Congress to allow the FACA process to move forward.

If you would like to learn more about Subtitle D, which would basically stop the wind industry dead in its tracks for 6 months to as long as three years by making it a federal crime to generate clean wind energy without a permit from the federal government, go here. To take action to oppose this ill-advised legislation, go here.


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