The first bill, SB 1440, would place a moratorium on new wind development east of Interstate 35. The second bill, SB 1559, places restrictions on wind and would stop development and divert new projects to Kansas and Texas.
Wind power has been very important to many Oklahomans. Wind provides jobs and has helped bring businesses like Google to the state. Wind is also helping Oklahoma become energy independent. And in the past wind energy has received overwhelming bipartisan support.
Oklahoma currently has several incentives for wind developers, including a five-year local property tax exemption. Renewable energy developers can also receive a tax credit of 0.25 cents to 0.75 cents per kilowatt hour of energy produced.
“It’s unfortunate that we are seeing bills this legislative session aimed at either restricting wind farm developments or halting future projects altogether,” Arnella Karges, vice president of government affairs for the State Chamber of Oklahoma, said. “Why have policies which encourage wind production in our state and then not allow that development? The State Chamber supports an ‘all of the above’ energy portfolio for Oklahoma, and wind power is part of that.”- read more
Why the sudden change of attitude towards wind energy? The lobbyist working to help advance the bills may be the answer.
“These bills have been advanced by a wealthy individual related to the Walton family (of Walmart fame) who hired lobbyists and made campaign contributions so he wouldn’t have to look at wind turbines.”- Oklahoma Sierra Club
Oklahomans wanting to save the wind industry in Oklahoma should contact their state Senators today and let them know these bills are not best for Oklahoma. And ask them to vote no on SB 1440 and SB 1559.