Restraints on Eastern Carolina wind farms given initial Senate OK

Published: Jun. 16, 2016 at 2:11 PM EDT
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The state Senate has given its preliminary OK to legislation making large swaths of eastern North Carolina off limits to wind turbines so areas where the military trains and its aircraft fly low can be protected.

The chamber voted 41-5 Thursday for the measure, which also would place new state regulatory hurdles in front of companies that want to install the large windmills to general electrical power. The bill also would enforce a prohibition of projects where a new state map identifies training routes.

Sen. Harry Brown of Jacksonville says the state must protect the economic engine that the military provides, and preserving training areas does that.

The measure could threaten two pending projects - one near Edenton and the other in Tyrrell County. Some senators are looking for a way to exempt these investments from the new rules. A final Senate vote could come next week.