State Senator Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach has repeatedly sought to override environmental and political obstacles that stand in the way of industrial-scale wind energy development on western Virginia mountain ridges. His SB 862, as initially proposed in last year’s General Assembly session, would have required Virginia counties to enact ordinances favorable to wind project siting. Citizens, county officials, and the Virginia Association of Counties objected to the loss of local authority, and the legislation, as passed, was essentially meaningless.
Now comes a Roanoke Times editorial writer warning that counties that enact ridgeline protection or other measures that prevent proliferation of the mega-turbines will likely end up in court. This may be so; ill-conceived and poorly written law invites legal contest. For the wind industry though, law suits to overrule local authority would be sure-fire negative publicity.
The more-serious message in the editorial is that the wind industry’s facilitators in the GA will respond with new attempts to overrule local governments if they presume to exercise the authority they currently have. No doubt.
The editorial is not all that clear. But it seems to suggest Virginia localities should adopt a new level of timidity when it comes to looking out for their own interests.