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Wisconsin Gov plan to increase wind farm setbacks falls short in legislature

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The Wisconsin legislature has moved quickly to enact most of newly elected GOP governor Scott Walker’s job-creation bills during a special session he called after his inauguration, with one glaring exception: Walker’s proposal to increase wind turbine setbacks from 1250 from homes, to 1800 feet from property lines.  As noted in this earlier post, and in a more detailed commentary on the Renewable Energy World website, Walker’s proposal seems to AEI to be a step in the right direction toward forging a new social framework that will actually support the long-term success of the wind industry, by helping avoid long, costly siting debates, lawsuits, and property-value claims. The proposed larger setbacks would come along with provisions allowing closer placement of turbines if the company works out an agreement with nearby neighbors.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, negotiations are underway to perhaps come up with some sort of middle ground between the existing regulations and Walker’s proposal, with leaders of the GOP majority sharing Walker’s concerns that the 1250 standard is insufficient.

UPDATE, 2/11/11: The Wisconsin legislature held a hearing to consider suspending the statewide wind farm regulations adopted by the state PSC last year, scheduled to go into effect shortly.  While the GOP-led legislature did not move forward with Governor Walker’s bill to increase setbacks to 1800 feet from property lines, they are considering revisiting the question.

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