Bipartisan proposal backed by key environment groups would cut red tape for smaller projects
MADISON – Facilities providing power from wind would get faster and easier approval under a bill
introduced today by State Rep. Phil Montgomery (R-Green Bay) and State Sen. Jeff Plale (D-South
Milwaukee) with the backing of two key state environmental groups: Clean Wisconsin and Renew
“Wind has arrived as an inexpensive, clean and renewable energy source,” said Ryan Schryver, Clean
Energy Advocate of Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy group. “Clean Wisconsin
has been proud to help two forward-thinking leaders craft a bill that will help wind power spread across the
Michael Vickerman, Executive Director at Renew Wisconsin, said, “Small wind farm proposals
currently are forced to wade through a quagmire of overly restrictive local ordinances during the zoning and
permitting stages of the projects. Many of these local ordinances were designed by small groups of wind
opponents to specifically prevent the construction of turbines in the area. This bill puts smaller wind
developments on a fair track for consideration and approval. Renew Wisconsin supports this smart proposal
without reservation.” Renew Wisconsin is a statewide group focused on promoting renewable energy.
Under current law large wind power projects receive consideration and approval from the state Public
Service Commission. However, smaller projects under 100 megawatts are forced go through a thorny local
process that can differ widely from community to community. This has resulted in a patchwork of overly
restrictive ordinances that have prevented several wind developments from being built. With so many
projects on hold because of these ordinances, Wisconsin may not be able to meet our renewable energy goals
set forth by Wisconsin’s Clean Energy Law.
Senator Plale and Representative Montgomery’s Sensible Wind Siting Policy (AB 899 / SB 544) will
create uniform state standards to guide local units of government in permitting wind projects and will
establish a process for wind opponents or developers to appeal decisions to the Public Service Commission.
As global warming concerns reach a boiling point, advocates from Clean Wisconsin and Renew
Wisconsin say the bill will have a beneficial impact not only on the climate and environment but on the
taxpayers too. Governor Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force included recommendations to create uniform
wind siting standards as a part of their recently released Interim Report.
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BILL TO AID WIND POWER GUSTS IN
The legislation has brought together an unusual group of supporters. “The collection of diverse
interest groups rallying together to back this legislation speaks volumes about the support for renewable
energy in Wisconsin and the real need to reform our current system for approving wind developments,” said
“The end result of this bill will be clean, safe and affordable renewable energy for more Wisconsin
residents,” said Vickerman.
With bipartisan support already lined up, advocates from Clean Wisconsin and Renew Wisconsin are
hoping for a fast track from bill to law. The bill will be debated at an Assembly hearing today on Tuesday
March 4th, with a Senate hearing on Wednesday March 5th with consideration shortly afterward by the full
Clean Wisconsin, an environmental advocacy organization, protects Wisconsin’s clean water and air and advocates for clean
energy by being an effective voice in the state legislature and by holding elected officials and corporations accountable. Phone:
608-251-7020, Fax: 608-251-1655, Email: [email protected], Website: www.cleanwisconsin.org.