Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

July 20, 2013

State unlikely to conduct wind study

No summer study committee appointed

By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
Kokomo Tribune

---- — Indianapolis - It’s unlikely that a state study of wind farms will be taking place this year as the summer study committee season draws to a close.

During the session of the Indiana General Assembly Sen. Jim Buck authored a resolution that was adopted by both chambers of the legislature to conduct a study of the benefits and consequences of industrial wind farms.

Buck said Thursday that a wind farm summer study was not assigned to its own committee.

The final decision rested with Republican Brian Bosma, speaker of the Indiana House, David Long, president of the Senate, and Democrats Scott Pelath, minority leader in the House, and Tim Lanane, minority leader in the Senate, to appoint lawmakers to a separate summer study committee.

“I’ve not heard if any committee is picking it up or not,” Buck said. “Since there was no specific legislation attached to the study, it was not given its own committee.”

Buck said there were more than 200 different requests for summer study committees passed by the legislature.

“I wouldn’t bet on it,” Buck said when asked if he believed the wind farm issue will be addressed. “The study committees don’t have a lot of allotted time.”

Buck said four of the five counties included in his Senate district are considered prime areas for wind farm development.

“Local government is looking into it,” he said. “This is an issue that won’t go away. The administration [of President Barrack Obama] is pushing wind and solar energy development.”

The Wildcat Wind Farm in eastern Tipton County, developed by E.ON Climate & Renewables, is in operation. E.ON intends to expand the project into eastern Howard County either this year or the next. A second proposed wind farm in northwestern Tipton County being developed by juwi Wind has received approval of a conditional use permit with the requirement the turbines are located 1,500 feet from the nearest property line and there is a property value guarantee developed.

“The study committee will determine whether the state should implement some regulations,” Buck said in April. “The intent is to determine if there is so much of a necessity that the [Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission] wants us to do something.”

Buck said there is a lot of information about wind farms that is a mixture of fact and fiction.

“The study committee will gather information and listen to expert testimony pro and con concerning wind farms,” he said.