The debate over wind farms and military readiness is going on today in Austin and Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana is there lending his support to a bill that would limit wind farms around military installations.
House Bill 445 authored by Wichita Falls State Representative James Frank aims to halt wind farm projects that are within 30 miles of a military airspace and would eliminate incentives offered to companies that choose to build in those areas.
Texas is the top state when it comes to wind energy and the state leads the nation in wind-related employment at over 25 thousand jobs. But officials at Sheppard Air Force Base worry that wind farms could compromise military training.
When we spoke with him earlier this morning Mayor Santellana hadn’t given his testimony yet and said the hearing was about halfway through and Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Manning has spoken on behalf of Sheppard.
“Sheppard employs 84 hundred people, 36 thousand indirect people and $5.6 billion dollar output for the state of Texas. Anything that affects that and the mission of Sheppard Air Force Base can’t be good,” Stephen Santellana W/ichita Falls Mayor.
Santellana says there are clean energy lobbyists that are against the bill as well as some municipalities that benefit from windfarms. The committee will review it after this and see if the bill makes it out of the committee and into the floor.