Restraints on wind farms given initial Senate OK

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The Latest on legislation adding more regulatory hurdles for the wind energy industry in North Carolina (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

The state Senate has given its preliminary OK to legislation making large swaths of eastern North Carolina off limits to wind turbines so areas where the military trains and its aircraft fly low can be protected.

The chamber voted 41-5 Thursday for the measure, which also would place new state regulatory hurdles in front of companies that want to install the large windmills to general electrical power. The bill also would enforce a prohibition of projects where a new state map identifies training routes.

Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville says the state must protect the economic engine that the military provides, and preserving training areas does that.

The measure could threaten two pending projects – one near Edenton and the other in Tyrrell County. Some senators are looking for a way to exempt these investments from the new rules. A final Senate vote could come next week.


5:15 a.m.

A bill adding more regulatory hurdles for the wind energy industry to build in North Carolina is heading to the Senate floor.

The chamber’s leaders scheduled debate Thursday on legislation that would direct two state agencies to examine wind turbine projects applications and report to the state Department of Environmental Quality, which issues the permit.

The bill would also prohibit construction across swaths of the state the military uses for training or low-altitude flights.

Bill supporters say the measure is about keeping the state’s military installations robust and eliminating a reason for top brass to move units to other states.

But critics are worried it would stop two pending wind farm projects in eastern North Carolina and could discourage other investors from moving in because projects already require federal permits.

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