Clean Wisconsin: Wind siting legislation expected to pass Senate committee with strong support Tuesday

Contact: Ryan Schryver, Clean Energy Advocate; cell: 262-949-6436

MADISON — Wisconsin could soon see greater economic growth in the promising wind energy industry after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy, Utilities and Rail votes on Senate Bill 185 Tuesday. This bipartisan bill replaces the chaotic patchwork of local regulations with sensible statewide standards for permitting wind farms. The bill is scheduled for a committee vote at 2 p.m.

“Wind energy holds the potential to address many of the greatest problems facing our state — it can help our environment while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and creating jobs for Wisconsinites,” says Ryan Schryver, clean energy advocate for Clean Wisconsin, the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization. “With so much to gain, we’re extremely encouraged that the legislature is poised to eliminate administrative barriers holding up the development of this industry.”

While wind developers stand ready to invest in Wisconsin’s economy and put Wisconsinites to work building wind farms, a complicated system of over-stringent local regulations currently puts our state at a disadvantage to neighboring states, stalling dozens of proposed wind farm developments in Wisconsin. As other industries have struggled in poor economic times and cut workers, the wind energy industry grew immensely in 2008, increasing its national workforce by 70 percent to over 85,000 workers.

Senate Bill 185, companion legislation to Assembly Bill 256 which passed the Assembly Committee on Energy and Utilities by a vote of 11-2 in early June, would charge the Wisconsin Public Service Commission with studying and determining permitting standards for wind farms to replace the current disorganized system that discourages the growth of the wind energy industry with sensible statewide standards.

“It’s unfortunate that Wisconsin has a great wind resource and a number of companies already building components for wind turbines, yet due to bureaucratic red tape, we can’t put a single turbine up in our state,” says Schryver. “We are encouraged that the committee is discussing this legislation and look forward to working with the bill’s lead authors to pass this bill through the full houses of the Assembly and Senate this fall.”

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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 polluters accountable. Founded in 1970 as Wisconsin’s Environmental Decade, Clean Wisconsin exposes corporate polluters, makes sure existing environmental laws are enforced, and educates citizens and businesses. On behalf of its 10,000 members and its coalition partners, Clean Wisconsin protects the special places that make Wisconsin such a wonderful place to live, work and play. Phone: 608-251-7020, Fax: 608-251-1655, Email: [email protected], Website: http://www.cleanwisconsin.org.