The Senate gave unanimous approval Wednesday to legislation to keep wind farms from interfering with the flight paths of military installations. Senate Pro Tempore Mike Schulz is the author of the bill that he said would protect the work and mission of Oklahoma’s military bases.
“The wind industry is expanding quickly in our state and we must protect our military bases,” said Schulz, R-Altus. “Our bases have raised concerns that the construction of wind facilities is negatively impacting flight training routes. These routes are difficult to alter due to environmental concerns and the need to survey new routes so we need to simply ensure that the wind farms are located a safe distance from bases and aren’t impeding the military’s work.”
HB 3561 prohibits construction or operation of a wind energy facility, or facility expansion, from encroaching upon or having a significant adverse impact on the mission, training or operations of any military installation or branch as determined by the FAA and Military Aviation and Installation Assurance Siting Clearinghouse, a federal entity authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act. The measure requires an active Determine of No Hazard from the FAA or an approved mitigation plan from the Siting Clearinghouse before a wind energy facility may be constructed or expanded. The bill also requires notification of a proposed wind energy facility to the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission who would then notify local base commanders and submit a letter outlining potential areas of impact to the Siting Clearinghouse.
“Existing regulations already require companies to file construction notices with the FAA, OCC and the county,” said Schulz. “Federal guidelines have changed to streamline how military bases weigh in on an issue critical to their mission. This bill works in tandem with these federal guidelines.”