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Legislative leaders ask Oklahoma Corporation Commission to study wind farm siting

After a proposed moratorium on wind farm developments in the eastern part of the state stalled, lawmakers are asking regulators at the Corporation Commission to hold hearings into wind farm siting and decommissioning.
by Paul Monies Published: May 21, 2014

Legislative leaders have asked the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to study wind farm siting after issues were raised earlier in the session over developments planned in the eastern half of the state.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, sent a letter to corporation commissioners Monday asking its public utility division to start a notice of inquiry into wind farm siting and the decommissioning of old wind farms.

The letter comes after a bill to impose a moratorium until 2017 on wind farms east of Interstate 35 appears to be dormant for the session. Senate Bill 1440 passed the Senate but didn’t get a hearing in a House committee.

Bingman said appropriate wind energy development deserves more study. His letter asks the Corporation Commission to study if it should oversee the siting of new wind farms. The letter also wants guidelines for the proper decommissioning of wind farms, including possible fines and enforcement mechanisms for failure to complete decommissioning.

“I believe it is imperative for all stakeholders to have full, ample opportunity for relevant input, and my understanding is the commission’s NOI (notice of inquiry) process affords all interested persons such opportunity,” Bingman said in a news release. “I look forward to seeing the commission’s findings and considering further legislative action that may be needed in the future.”

In the letter, Bingman said the inquiry shouldn’t involve tax incentives for the wind industry or landowner private rights.

“Those raise distinct concerns that would be difficult to address in the context of a commission NOI,” Bingman wrote.

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