Newport Wind Project: Model Universal Wind Law
Yesterday (11/5/13: in Wilmington) was the first "official" state meeting regarding the proposed Newport wind project.
The new state "Wind Permitting" law, H484, sets up DENR as being the lead state agency. What's surprising is that this meeting is not part of the H484 procedure.
DENR called together state and federal agencies, and major stakeholders, to hear what was essentially a sales pitch by the developer. Since H484 already gives the developer multiple opportunities to make his case (e.g. even with a "pre-application" meeting), it is puzzling why this was necessary, or advisable.
We continue to hope that (in regard to industrial wind energy), DENR will be the NC state agency that is an unabashed full-time advocate:
to aggressively represent the rights of NC citizens (especially those proximate to industrial development),
to protect the interests of NC military bases (since they are unable to defend themselves), and
to fully safeguard the NC environment.
I continue to be encouraged that the Town of Newport will pass a quality citizen-oriented wind ordinance. (I'm also optimistic that Carteret County will upgrade their existing wind law, to be consistent with what Newport does.)
The challenge for any local jurisdiction is that there are some forty (40) negative impacts that may result from industrial wind energy! Since I was asked by the Town for my input on this highly technical matter, I put together a package for them to consider.
My recommendation was that their law focus on doing a good job with the four most important elements of the 40±, and I gave them sample words for each:
1) Property Value Guarantee,
2) Turbine Setbacks,
3) Acoustical Terms & Conditions, and
4) Environmental Protections.
An additional provision that I strongly encouraged them to add, was an Escrow Account. This developer funded account would provide the money for all town incurred expenses from application through decommissioning. This is extremely critical.
Since other NC & US communities have asked for the same help, I decided to put this material together in a generic way, that could benefit communities throughout the country. I'll include you on the national email later this week that spells out the specifics for each of these matters identified above.
If the Newport law properly incorporates all of these elements, it will provide significant additional protections for their citizens, the environment - and the base at Cherry Point. We are hoping that the County will do the same.
Let me know any questions.
[If there are others who you think would benefit from being on the Newport wind list, please let me know. If at any time you'd like to be taken off the list, please let me know that too. You can selectively pass this on to others interested in promoting citizen rights, but this is not for publication without my written approval.]
John Droz, jr.
Morehead City, NC
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