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Senate OKs Bill To Ban Wind Farms In Much Of State

Legislation would prohibit wind farms in much of North Carolinas. It now goes to the House.

The North Carolina Senate approved a bill Monday that would ban wind farms across much of the state. The "Military Operations Protection Act," which passed 33-14, would not allow wind turbines in areas with military training flights.

A map accompanying the legislation shows wide areas, especially in the eastern and central parts of the state, where wind farm development would be blocked. 

Credit N.C. General Assembly
Wind farms would be prohibited in colored areas, allowed in white areas, under the bill.

Bill sponsor Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) told WUNC: "The military affairs commission has been working on this for many years because we knew about the conflicts of possible wind energy moving into North Carolina."

The bill would revise a 2013 wind industry permitting law. It now goes back to the House, which must agree with changes made since the House approved it in April.

Supporters of wind energy are unhappy about the bill. The N.C. chapter of the Sierra Club says it adds several new layers of regulation that make it harder to develop wind power. That could hurt rural counties, the group said.

“Communities in eastern North Carolina should be able to attract investment from the wind industry through the comprehensive permitting process adopted by the legislature in 2013.  That process requires input from the military.  The proposed legislation adds unnecessary complexity and uncertainty for businesses navigating the wind permitting process,” said Melissa Dickerson, Coastal Coordinator for the NC Sierra Club.  


June 21, 2016, WUNC.org, "Senate Votes To Prohibit Wind Farms Across Much Of NC"

See the bill history and updated text at NCLeg.net

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.