House Committee Advances Wind Farm Bill

CHEYENNE, (AP) - A House committee has advanced a bill to give counties permitting authority over wind farms and set minimum development standards for wind projects. The Minerals Committee approved the measure Friday morning and sent it to the full House.

House Bill 72 would implement a county permitting process for new wind development while also allowing counties to enact tougher rules. The bill would require wind developers to submit road, emergency, waste management, site and decommissioning plans to counties. The bill also spells out minimum setbacks for turbines of at least 110 percent of a turbine's height from any public road, one-quarter mile from houses and one-half mile from city or town limits.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill that would allow Wyoming residents to carry concealed weapons without permits. If House Bill 113 passes, Wyoming would become the third state in the nation after Vermont and Alaska to allow hidden weapons without permits.

The bill would bar people under the age of 21, convicted felons, people convicted of drug-related crimes, alcoholics, and some others from carrying concealed weapons.

Republican Representative Lorraine Quarberg of Thermopolis is sponsoring the bill. She says it's meant to spell out rights already guaranteed under the Constitution. Democratic Representative Pete Jorgensen of Jackson opposes the bill, saying it would be a dangerous loosening of gun control regulations.

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