THIS JUST IN:
The wind setback issue is no longer part of Governor Walkers bill.
Following a five to three party-line vote to remove this provision from the bill, the Assembly Rules Committee approved the calendar for Thursday's floor session, which includes special session bills on tort reform, a tax credit for health savings accounts, increased economic development tax credits and a tax credit for businesses relocating to Wisconsin.
The wind setback issue may be taken up as a separate issue later in the session.
LAWMAKERS TO TAKE UP REGULATORY REFORMS SEPARATELY
SOURCE: Journal Sentinel
January 14th, 2010
By Patrick Marley
Madison — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said Friday he wants to deal with all the issues Gov. Scott Walker has included in a regulatory reform bill, but not as one package.
That means the three issues in the package will be dealt with as separate legislation.
Walker's bill would change rules on siting wind turbines, make it easier to build on wetlands in Brown County and give the governor more power in writing administrative rules.
Fitzgerald said he supported all those ideas but thought they should be dealt with separately.
The wetlands language in Walker's bill would allow a retail development near Lambeau Field to proceed. Fitzgerald called the development a project "that clearly should be built in Green Bay."
"My concern about it is the Department of Natural Resources has absolutely messed this up from the beginning," Fitzgerald said.
The Legislature had the Public Service Commission develop rules on wind turbines, but lawmakers need to revisit the issue, Fitzgerald said. "I think that it is something that the Legislature should go back and look at again," he said.
He said he was sensitive to concerns raised both by property rights groups as well as the wind industry. They say the rules Walker is proposing would kill jobs.
The Legislature is controlled by Walker's fellow Republicans, and they have been broadly supportive of his efforts to boost the economy through tax cuts and regulatory reform. But lawmakers from both parties have raised concerns about ceding too much power to the executive branch on administrative rules.
Rules are written to implement new legislation, and lawmakers must sign off on any rules. Walker wants the rules to go through the governor's office as well.
Fitzgerald spoke to reporters after a committee of Senate leaders voted to take up a tort reform bill Tuesday on the Senate floor. Republicans say the measure will help business, while Democrats say it will make it harder for victims to find justice.
TOWN OF MORRISON LOOKS AT CHANGING RULES FOR WIND TURBINES
SOURCE: WBAY-TV, www.wbay.com
January 18, 2011
By Matt Smith
Amid ongoing debate at the state Capitol, the Town of Morrison in Brown County continues discussion on expanding or creating another ordinance for wind turbines.
A group of residents opposes a proposed wind farm project in southern Brown County that would build 100 turbines.
Currently that project is on hold since its application to the state Public Service Commission is incomplete.
It’s a debate that has united and divided communities across southern Brown County.
Tuesday night, more than 60 town residents united in hopes of creating another ordinance restricting what wind companies can do — restricted themselves by the state Legislature.
“If you have an ordinance that doesn’t comply with state law, you’re illegal,” Town of Morrison consultant Glen Schwalbach said.
Soon-to-be enacted rules by the Public Service Commission change setback rules for neighboring properties and how much nearby residents can be paid.
But already Governor Walker has introduced legislation as part of the special session that would impose even tighter guidelines for wind companies.
“I think they are going to extend the setbacks, and they well should be. They should be much greater than originally planned,” Morrison resident Gerald Cornelissen said.
Yet others, like the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters, say the proposal would lose the state nearly $2 billion in new wind power investments.
If no further legislative action is taken, the Public Service Commission says the new changes are expected to take effect March 1st.
For now the debate continues — from town halls to the state Capitol.
Pilot might not have seen met tower before fatal Delta crash
January 19, 2011
By Robert Salonga
OAKLEY -- A crop duster pilot killed last week may not have seen the weather tower that his plane clipped, causing him to crash on a remote island in the Delta, according to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Stephen Allen, 58, died in the crash reported about 11 a.m. Jan. 10 on Webb Tract Island, located about two miles north of Bethel Island. Allen was a resident of Courtland, a town about 20 miles south of Sacramento.
Allen was the only person on board the Rockwell International S-2R Thrush Commander crop duster, which according to Federal Aviation Administration records was built in 1975 and registered to Walnut Grove-based Alexander Ag Flying Service.
According to the NTSB, Allen was applying seed when he crashed. He appears to have struck a 200-foot meteorological tower -- constructed of galvanized tubing and designed to collect wind information -- that was installed on the island in 2009.
The NTSB wrote in its report that "the fact that these towers are narrow, unmarked and gray in color makes for a structure that is nearly invisible under some atmospheric conditions."
A final report about the crash is not expected to be completed for several months.
BETTER PLAN'S EXTRA CREDIT READING ASSIGNMENT:
What happens when wind developers come to town?
---KEEP WIND TURBINE DEBATE RESPECTFUL (WI)
"Obviously, the community has been torn apart because of this project," [Morrison Town Chairman] Christensen said.
"You have brothers not talking to brothers, fathers and sons not talking. It's sad. … Everybody has all the right to debate (an) opinion with fact, but do it with respect. That hasn't been happening."
FULL TEXT HERE: Greenbay Press Gazette
HE'S BAA-ACK: PRO-WIND PLALE LANDS JOB IN WALKER ADMINISTRATION
Former Democratic Sen. Jeff Plale has joined the administration of Republican Gov. Scott Walker.
Plale sponsored and fought for the bill which stripped local governments of their power to regulate the siting of wind turbines in our state and gave this power to the appointed members of the Public Service Commission.
Plale wil earn $90,000 a year as the administrator of the Division of State Facilities, Department of Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch said.
READ ABOUT IT BY CLICKING HERE: Wisconsin State Journal
In Wisconsin wind turbine noise limits are 50 dbA during the day and 45 dbA during the night. How does this compare with other states?
RESIDENTS RAISE NOISE ON WINDMILLS (NY)
" A 29-turbine commercial wind farm has been proposed for the town by New York City-based EverPower Renewables. EverPower officials have requested that the noise level emitted by the wind turbines be raised to 40 decibels. The current town law allows for the noise level to be raised 3 decibels above the ambient level of 25 decibels."
FULL STORY HERE www.oleantimesherald.com
What about setbacks?
COUNTY TO DISCUSS HOW CLOSE WIND TURBINES SHOULD BE TO HOMES (MI)
Developers of wind farms say 1,000 foot setbacks are enough. They say problems with windmills are greatly exaggerated by people who want to ban them altogether.
Tonight planning commissioners in Mason County will review a proposal to require setbacks of 1.25 miles. Under the proposed rule windmills could be closer to a home if the homeowner was part of the project, meaning he or she makes a deal with the energy company.
FULL STORY HERE: ipr.interlochen.org Interlochen Public Radio,