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E-M:/ Wind/Security: Sierra Club Calls on Rumsfeld to Stop Blocking Wind Farms

Enviro-Mich message from "Anne Woiwode" <Anne.Woiwode@sierraclub.org>

Wind power is one of the major future sources for Michigan, so this lawsuit
will be of interest to many here -- Anne Woiwode

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2006

David Willett, 202-675-6698

      Sierra Club Calls on Rumsfeld, DOD to Stop Blocking Wind Farms
   Suit filed against Defense Department for delaying study of windmill
                            threats to security

San Francisco: The Sierra Club today filed suit against Donald Rumsfeld and
the U.S. Department of Defense for creating a virtual moratorium on the
construction of new wind power plants. Rumsfeld and DOD have failed to
complete a congressionally mandated study of windmills' impact on radar.
In the meantime, DOD, Department of Homeland Security and the Federal
Aviation Administration have halted wind farm construction "within radar
line of sight" of any military radar--which has effectively stopped
construction across the U.S.

"While the Defense Department drags its feet studying if wind farms are a
threat to national security, Americans are missing out on cleaner, cheaper
energy," said Kristin Henry, staff attorney for Sierra Club.  "If the
military can have windmills and effective radar at Guantanamo, why can't we
have both in the Midwest?"

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
California, claims that the Department of Defense has violated the
Administrative Procedure Act and will seek to "compel agency action
unlawfully withheld or unreasonably delayed." 5 U.S.C. § 706(1).

The move by the Bush administration to link wind power to national security
threats is especially ironic given that it took a recent decision of the
Ninth Circuit Court to get the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to consider
the potential impacts from a terrorist attack on nuclear facilities when
conducting environmental reviews.

"The same administration that didn't want to consider terrorism when
building nuclear plants is saying that windmills may be a threat to
national security," said Henry.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 contained a
last-minute amendment, inserted by Senator John Warner of Virginia,
requiring Donald Rumsfeld and DOD to complete a study on the effect of
windmills on military readiness and the operation of military radar
installations by May 8, 2006.

In order to operate and construct a windmill in the U.S., an energy
developer must obtain a notice from the FAA stating that the installation
is not a hazard to air navigation. The Federal Aviation Administration is
interpreting DOD's "Interim Windmill Policy" to mean that it cannot approve
any wind projects "within radar line of sight."  Instead, the agency has
been issuing "Notices of Presumptive Hazard," which decline to provide the
required notice until more information is obtained regarding possible
interference with military radar installations. Since much of the nation
and almost all of the Midwest is "within radar line of sight," this policy
has a sweeping effect and has essentially created a de facto moratorium on
new wind power projects.

Federal officials have declined to reveal how many wind projects have been
blocked from construction, but, according to media reports, at least 15
wind farm proposals in the Midwest have been shut down so far. The list of
stalled projects includes one outside Bloomington, Illinois, which would
have been the nation's largest source of wind energy, generating enough
electricity to power 120,000 homes in the Chicago area. Coal and natural
gas will likely replace the lost wind generation, resulting in higher
energy costs and increased soot, smog and global warming pollution.

"Paralyzing wind energy development could not have come at a worse time,"
said David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club.  "The Department of
Defense has provided no indication of when it intends to complete the
required study, even though the deadline has already passed.  Meanwhile the
window for claiming tax credits on wind projects is closing next year.

On June 2, 2006, Senators Russ Feingold, Dick Durbin, Herb Kohl, Kent
Conrad, Byron Dorgan, and Barack Obama wrote a letter to the Department of
Defense and the Federal Aviation Administration requesting that they stop
unnecessarily obstructing the construction of clean, renewable energy

If the moratorium persists through the summer, it may not be possible to
complete wind projects in time for their developers to claim applicable
federal tax credits, which were extended last August through the end of
2007. The direct and indirect economic damage that will result from
suspension of wind farm construction could easily reach tens of millions of

Wind energy is the fastest-growing source of power on the planet. With our
tremendous wind resources, the United States can become a world leader in
wind energy. Already, wind turbines in this country produce enough
electricity to meet the needs of more than 1 million households. A single
modern wind turbine can produce enough power to meet the annual electricity
needs of 500 average homes.


David Willett
National Press Secretary
Sierra Club
(202) 675-6698 (w)
(202) 491-6919 (m)

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