Small Nebraska Towns Try To Ban Wind Power For 2 Years

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Several small Nebraska towns are considering legislation to postpone the construction of new wind turbines for two years.

The towns sponsored legislation proposing a two-year halt to commercial wind energy projects in the seven Sandhills legislative districts to allow the the study of increased wind power development.

Wind energy development in the area is “tearing communities apart,” Republican state Sen. Tom Brewer, who introduced the two-year ban, told other lawmakers. “Hit the pause button” with “a temporary moratorium on new projects,” Brewer said.

Supporters of Brewer’s bill said it would protect the local environment and the underground Ogallala Aquifer. The bill’s wind energy developer opponents argued the proposal would put an end to development just as federal subsidies are phasing out.

The bill would “send a message that Nebraska is not open to wind development (and) encourage us to invest in other states,” Tom Budler, president of BHE Wind, told The Lincoln Journal Star.

This wouldn’t be the first time green power has been stopped out of environmental or land-use concerns.

Early this week, environmentalists tried stop a solar power plant from being built in Shoreham, N.Y., to prevent trees being cut down.

Residents of a Massachusetts town tried to get their local government to revoke the permits of wind turbines late last month.

A proposed Maryland wind farm was killed last month by a utility law judge after it had already been rejected by local officials. In January, a judge rejected a proposed wind turbine because the noise and shadow flickers might affect the “aesthetic of local communities.”

A Rhode Island town also temporarily halted the building of a new solar power project in January for the next three months to promote safety and preserve the town’s rural character.

Environmentalists are increasingly against wind and solar power at the local level. Even in comparatively progressive places like Vermont or Great Britain, wind and solar installations tend to be aggressively opposed by local residents.

Major environmental groups like the Center For Biological Diversity have a long history of pursuing legal action against “green” development, like wind turbines or solar farms, which it believes encroach on animal habitats and kill tens of thousands of birds.

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