HB 1167 known as the wind setback bill, hurts local control

It’s the 66th Legislative Session and we are closing in on cross-over which is the point when bills remaining, are sent to the second chamber of the Legislature. One bill we have been watching is HB 1167, a wind turbine setback bill.  As submitted, the bill mandated a three time set back (turbine height setback from property line). One developer testified in a committee hearing the 3 X setback would have prohibited from development 70% of the leased property.  The bill has been amended to a 2.1 X setback.   The topic of setbacks was thoroughly debated in the 2017 Session, and settled on 1.1 X, but has surfaced again we shouldn’t have to revisit the same policy decision each session, it’s a bad practice that creates uncertainty in the business community for making investment decisions.

During each Legislative Session, bills surface in an attempt to over regulate, creating mandates and removing power from the local level.  Not every decision should be made at the state level. Townships and counties have the power to make the decision on setback rules and have done so.  They can be specific for wind development that reflects the values of local citizens, NOT the State. Local governments can determine setback standards for property lines as reflected by local input, local considerations and what local officials think is best for their area. As one County Commissioner told Legislators, when he testified against the bill, “Leave us alone, we got this.” 

North Dakotan’s for Comprehensive Energy Solutions thinks HB 1167 is bad policy because:

  • It infringes on local control

  • This issue was hotly debated 2 years ago.  Leave it alone

  • This bill hurts economic development …has the potential to kill some developments

  • Sets bad precedence on private property rights and what landowners may or may not do with their land.

We urge legislators to vote no and allow local governments to make this decision. Click here to take action.

ND For All Energy