Friday, February 5, 2010

Protecting Communities in Wind Siting Decisions

Today the Senate debated S.2455, “An Act Relative to Comprehensive Siting Reform for Land Based Wind Projects.” This legislation is intended to promote the development of terrestrial wind energy facilities in our state through an expedited permitting process, particularly in so-called “wind rich” communities.

In order to ensure that regional and municipal interests are adequately protected, I successfully amended the bill in two ways:

1) First, to specifically provide the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission with a voice in the regulatory process, to represent our region’s needs and concerns, and;

2) Second, to require that specific criteria be developed to determine those communities that will be subject to the strongest provisions of the expedited permitting process, and to further require public hearings to be held locally prior to any community being designated as covered by those provisions.

I continue to be a strong proponent of alternative energy development in our Commonwealth and at the same time believe that local input is essential to the energy siting process.