Suspension could kill clean energy projects, cost hundreds of jobs

MADISON — A legislative committee is set to vote Tuesday on a measure that would suspend PSC 128, a rule package that creates uniform statewide standards for the development of safe wind farms in Wisconsin.

“Suspending the wind siting rule will kill jobs and move Wisconsin in the wrong direction on clean energy policy,” said Keith Reopelle, senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin.

 The Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a measure to suspend the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) wind siting rule which would otherwise become effective that day. The PSC drafted this rule package based on recommendations created by a diverse stakeholder advisory group after the bipartisan passage of Wisconsin Act 40.  This law charged the PSC with replacing an over-stringent collection of local regulations for permitting wind farms with sensible statewide standards.

“The previous legislature recognized that a patchwork of local regulations stood in the way of the development of safe wind farms in the state, and legislators on both sides of the aisle worked together to pass Wisconsin Act 40,” said Reopelle. “Suspending the wind siting rule will be the first step in repealing this law and will send a clear message to wind developers that they are not welcome in Wisconsin.”

The committee’s move to suspend the wind siting rule comes a few weeks after the legislature failed to pass Governor Scott Walker’s special session proposal to significantly tighten regulations on the development of wind farms.

  “Wisconsin residents overwhelmingly support the development of clean, renewable wind energy,” said Reopelle. “The legislature chose not to pass Governor Walker’s proposal to effectively ban new wind farms, and we hope they’ll also choose to leave this important rule intact.”