CHEYENNE, Wyo. – The Wyoming House of Representatives has seen an outpouring of opinions regarding a bill focused on wind turbine blades this week.
Natrona County Sen. Jim Anderson and Rep. Bunky Loucks are co-sponsoring a bill, HB 217, that would ban the burial of wind turbine blades in Wyoming, making it a misdemeanor to do so. Anyone found violating this would face a $1,000 fine.
The bill was introduced on Feb. 13, receiving a majority vote from the House to send it to the Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee, which first heard discussions on the bill on Monday, Feb. 17.
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Natrona County Rep. Joe MacGuire was impressed at the amount of support on both sides of the aisle, supporters and dissenters. MacGuire was one of the 50 yes votes to introduce the bill and send it to the committee.
“I think the meetings have gone really well, especially on Wednesday,” he told Oil City News on Thursday, Feb. 20. “I want to hear a fair representation, which is what I thought we saw. I want it to go back to the Committee of the Whole for a debate, because I think that’s what this bill deserves.”
The fact that his fellow Natrona County legislators are co-sponsoring the bill didn’t affect his vote, MacGuire said.
He expects the debate in the House over this bill to be interesting, as there are pros, such as once broken down, the blades won’t take up much space in the landfills. But he thinks there are also cons to allowing the disposal of the blades.
“The reason we have good, safe landfills is because minerals have paid for them,” he said. “Those landfills are now disposing of the tool of its own demise. “
The committee voted to send the bill back to the Committee of the Whole. If COW decides to approve the bill, it will go through two more readings in the House before it’s sent to the Senate. If the Senate approves the bill with no amendments, it will go to the governor’s desk. If amendments are made, it will be sent to the Joint Appropriations Committee for revisions.
If signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon, the bill would go into effect on July 1, 2020.