Legislation putting a chill into wind energy prospects in Oklahoma, critics say

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau  

OKLAHOMA CITY — A proposed moratorium on wind farms east of Interstate 35 is having a chilling effect on a booming new industry, critics say.

But supporters of legislation calling for the three-year stoppage said the industry is relatively unregulated and more study is needed.

Senate Bill 1440 by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman passed last week by a vote of 32-8 and heads to the House for consideration.

Bingman said the measure is a “work in progress” and will be modified. Most of the state’s wind farms are in western Oklahoma, which has fewer people than other areas of the state where wind farms have been proposed, Bingman said.

“We have been writing oil and gas legislation and regulations for over 100 years and continue to do so,” said Senate Floor Leader Mike Schulz, R-Altus, who voted against the bill. “I don’t anticipate anything different in the wind industry.”

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