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Wind Farm Ban Dies, But Lawmakers Say They'll Refile

N.C. General Assembly
Map that accompanied legislation in the General Assembly this spring showed areas where wind farms could be banned. The bill didn't make it out of the House.

  A bill that would have banned wind farms across much of North Carolina died when the state legislature adjourned last week, but several lawmakers said Thursday they'll reintroduce it next year.  

The bill's sponsors had proposed the ban to keep wind farms out of areas with military training flights. It would have revised the 2013 state law permitting wind farms, and included a map blacking out areas where they're allowed.

The bill passed the Senate, but never made it out of the House Rules, Calendar and Operations committee.  

Eight Republican and Democratic lawmakers from eastern North Carolina said they'll revive the bill, to protect military jobs.  They issued a statement Thursday:  

“Make no mistake – if we fail to fully protect our military installations, decision-makers in Washington could award them to states that will, and our local communities will be left picking up the pieces. Three taxpayer subsidized wind projects that create few jobs for North Carolinians should not take priority over the hundreds of thousands of jobs and tens of billions of dollars that we could jeopardize if we fail to stand up for our military.”

The statement came from state Sens. Harry Brown (R-Onslow), Ben Clark (D-Hoke), Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland), Louis Pate (R-Wayne) and Norman Sanderson (R-Pamlico) and Reps. George Cleveland (R-Onslow), Pat McElraft (R-Carteret) and Phil Shepard (R-Onslow).

North Carolina's first utility-scale wind farm is under development in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties. The 104-turbine Amazon Wind Farm will supply power to online retailer Amazon.

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