Oklahoma congressman says wind turbines are endangering U.S. airmen
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
According to U.S. representative Steve Russell, new wind turbines are being built in a hot spot for low level flight training that Air Force bases in Oklahoma use.
The turbines are so tall, Russell says it could make that flight training too dangerous for airmen.
“What we need to do, is make sure companies who are subsidized by U.S. tax dollars are not putting U.S. service men and women in jeopardy, to secure their profits that are tax subsidized. They've got to put the country ahead of themselves," he said.
“These military training routes have been there for decades, but there's this race to throw up as many windmills as possible because of the moratorium on subsidies, and they're trying to beat that deadline."
If the company, NextEra, continues their project, which is reportedly not in the original footprint the company said it would be, the viability of Oklahoma Air Bases are in jeopardy of having to close just so they can train airmen properly.
Landowners near Hinton are also forced to live with the invasive construction on what they call historic land.
Tammy Huffstutlar said, "Please respect where we live. Don't be building on our historic trails. Don't be building right next to our homes. That's not a good neighbor."
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said they have been made aware of the issues surrounding this wind energy project. They also say there have been no official claims filed, and since the project was approved before the new law was put into effect last spring, they say there's not much the commission can do besides wait for someone to file a lawsuit.
Even after that, it's unclear if anyone has the power to shut down the companies’ plan.
Russell says Oklahoma is not the only state dealing with issues with wind farms.
"I'm on these committees where we look at these problems," he said, "and we are hearing it from many states across the country saying 'hey, who authorized these things to go up in these training areas?'
The Special Aeronautics Commission met about this issue on Sept. 11. A representative from the Attorney General's office was there and they discussed filing civil action to try and stop NextEra from continuing construction of the wind farm. They voted to take action.