A Win for the Wind Industry
October 3, 2006
In response to the Sierra Club’s July 2006 lawsuit, the Department of Defense has released their long overdue study detailing the effects of wind farms on military radar. By failing to release this report by their congressionally mandated May 8th due date, the DoD imposed a virtual moratorium on the wind industry, halting the construction of wind farms nation wide. The Sierra Club took action against the Department for this costly delay, challenging them to stop their foot dragging. On September 28th the results of their study were released, vindicating the Club's position that windmill construction should move forward and allowing a vital American industry to regain its momentum. The Sierra Club will hold DOD to its word that wind farms with potential impacts on radar will be reviewed to find ways to make them work- not to shut them down. With proper siting, windfarms and military readiness can co-exist.
September 12, 2006
On September 12, 2006, three dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Bush urging him to ensure that the Department of Defense’s long overdue study on windmills' impacts on military radar will not impede the development of wind energy. The Department of Defense has continued its foot dragging by refusing to meet its deadline to respond to the Sierra Club's lawsuit, which seeks to compel the government to release this study. Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis), who circulated the letter with Representative Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and 34 others, emphasized the importance of wind power, stating “We can, and we must, balance the important task of protecting our national security with the need to increase our domestic energy security and wind farms offer one efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly energy source.” Members of both parties joined together to urge the Bush administration to ensure that the growth of this increasingly important industry will not be stifled, and that the American people will have access to this clean, renewable energy source.
August 25, 2006
In an extremely disappointing yet ultimately unsurprising move, the Department of Defense has failed to meet their August 28th deadline to respond to the July suit that the Sierra Club brought for DoD's failure to complete a study on the effects wind farms have on radar. The study, which was supposed to be completed on May 8th, has crippled the wind industry; according to media reports, at least 15 wind farm proposals in the Midwest have been shut down so far. The list of stalled projects includes one outside Bloomington, Illinois, which would have been the nation's largest source of wind energy, generating enough electricity to power 120,000 homes in the Chicago area. Though they had 60 days to respond to the complaint, Department of Defense attorneys have informed the Club that they need five additional weeks to produce their response. The Department of Defense’s protracted foot dragging and negligence in completing this study is simultaneously stifling a vital industry and depriving the American people of clean, renewable energy sources.
July 7, 2006
A virtual moratorium on the construction of new wind power plants has been in place for nearly two months as a result of actions taken by the Pentagon. The Sierra Club has filed a suit against Donald Rumsfeld and the Department of Defense for their failure to complete a congressionally mandated study of the impact that windmills have on radar. The Department of Defense Authorization Act of 2006 ordered that the study into the effects that wind farms have on military radar be completed by May 8th 2006, however currently no release date is in sight. While the study languishes on the horizon, the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to prohibit wind farm construction "within radar line of sight" of any military radar. The Pentagon’s failure to meet their obligations has effectively halted the construction of new wind energy projects across the country, damaging the growth and stability of this industry.
Both the wind industry and the American people are paying the price for the Pentagon’s tardiness. Wind turbines are not only a clean and efficient way to generate electricity but also a long term solution to America’s energy needs. According to the American Wind Energy Association the wind power available in North Dakota alone could supply over 40% of the nation’s electricity. By halting these projects the Department of Defense is exacerbating America’s dependence on non-renewable, dirty sources of energy.
Details and Documents:
Bipartisan Letter to President Bush
September 12, 2006 by Rep. Tammy Baldwin et all
Press Release for Bipartisan Letter to Bush
September 13, 2006 Representative's Offices
Sierra Club versus Rumsfeld Complaint
June 28, 2006 U.S. District of California, Northern CA, San Francisco Division
Bipartisan Coalition of Senators Letter to the FAA
June 13, 2006 Rep Tammy Baldwin and Rep Ron Kind et al
Bipartisan Coalition of Senators Letter to the DOD
June 13, 2006 Rep Tammy Baldwin and Rep Ron Kind et al
DOD Study Allows For Wind Farm Construction
September 28, 2006 Sierra Club Press Release
Bipartisan group to press Bush on radar questions
September 5, 2006 by Ben Geman Greenwire
Wind Farm Construction Put On Hold Until 2008
September 1, 2006 AZ Journal
Sierra Club Press Release
August 24, 2006
Illinois Senators Announce Hold on Nominee Until FAA Clarifies Policy on Construction of Wind Farms
July 25, 2006 Chicago Sun-Times
Sierra Club Sues Pentagon Over Wind Farm
June 29, 2005 by Marcus Wohlsen The Associated Press
See other "Promoting Clean Energy" cases.