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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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: