Texas legislators are expected to take action on a wind farm bill that directly impacts Sheppard Air Force Base.
The bill made its way to the house floor. If passed and signed into law, it would eliminate tax incentives for building wind farms within 25 miles of military air space.
SMAC President Glenn Barham was down in Austin Sunday expressing the importance of the bill to the house speaker.
Rep. James Frank’s bill died during the legislative process before ever coming to a vote. But Frank and city leaders believe a similar bill authored by Sen. Donna Campbell will have the 76 votes needed to pass.
Barham added that there is a lot of misconception about the bill dictating do’s and don’t’s of wind farms.
“A lot of people don’t understand that the state is not telling a community that you can’t put your wind farm there, or it’s not telling a landowner that you can’t put your windmill on that property,” Barham said. “If you’ve got the bucks to build it and you want to build it get after it. But if you’re going to come to the state or the school districts and ask for tax abatements. This bill says you can’t do that.”
Barham adds that if wind farms continue to be built close to air spaces, it could put Sheppard’s training mission in jeopardy and would add to concerns about possible base realignments.
If lawmakers are able to vote on the bill Monday, Barham and Rep. Frank feel confident it will pass.