Left to right: Rep. Tom Saunders of District 54, and Rep. Dick Hamm of District 56
Wind farms have been, for the past few years, a source of discussion amongst many of the residents of Fayette, Rush, Henry and Wayne counties, given the several proposed wind projects in the works which would include those counties.
Now, it appears, the topic will be discussed among members of the Indiana Legislature, as well.
The Legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunication has quite a few topics on its agenda for its summer study session, and among those will be wind energy in Indiana.
A meeting has yet to be scheduled for the committee this summer, but when they do meet, they are charged with specifically studying the construction of wind power devices in Indiana, along with the health effects, public safety implications, issues of property valuation, policies defining conflicts of interest and issues concerning economic development.
The discussion comes on the heels of a 2017 Indiana Legislative session where Rep. Tom Saunders of District 54, and Rep. Dick Hamm of District 56, authored House Bill 1597 in January – which sought minimum setback distances for wind power devices – with the bill later referred to the Committee on Utilities, Energy and Telecommunication.
Wind energy is among four topics the summer study committee will discuss, along with self-generation of electricity by school corporations, rental rates and other fees for the attachment of communications service facilities on utility poles that are owned or controlled by electricity suppliers and rural broadband internet service throughout the state.
Participating in the summer committee are:
Indiana State Senators
James Merritt of District 31; Chair
Mike Bohacek of District 8:
Erin Houchin of District 47;
Eric Koch of District 44;
Democratic and Minority Floor Leader Timothy Lanane of District 25;
Lonnie Randolph of District 2;
Mark Stoops of District 40;
Indiana State Representatives
Ryan Hatfield of District 77;
Karlee Macer of District 92;
Alan Morrison of District 42;
David Ober of District 82; Vice Chair
Matt Piece of District 61;
Mike Speedy of District 90; and
Heath VanNatter of District 38.