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Monday, February 7, 2011

Proposed wind-energy ban threatens Cashton wind project

From an article by Kevin Lee in The Daily Reporter:

MADISON — Local contractors seeking to build a new wave of wind energy sites are still holding their collective breath.

Gov. Scott Walker has put the brakes on legislation to push back the minimum distance between wind turbines and property lines, but a joint legislative committee may take up the matter on Wednesday.

Wes Slaymaker, who is helping to construct the Cashton Greens wind energy site in Monroe County, said Walker's legislation would have disrupted proposed projects preparing for construction.

"As (the proposal) was written, it was kind of a moratorium on wind (energy) in the state. So I guess there is still a bit of a cloud, but now the cloud has moved over to the edge of the horizon, it's not right over the top of our heads," he said.

As of now, a state rule that takes effect in March will establish that wind sites must be 1,250 feet away from property lines. Walker wanted to push that distance back to 1,800 feet, which energy wind advocates say would be among the most restrictive limits in the country.

The tougher siting restriction, one of the proposals the governor pushed as part of his special session to improve the state's economy, has not received a public committee hearing, a typical first step for new legislation.

"We'll pursue action with the Legislature outside of the special session," Walker said. "But again, I want to see the wind industry like any other industry be able to be effective here in the state of Wisconsin. I just want to find a way to balance that with the needs of individual property rights in the state as well."

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