Lawmakers were able to restore some protections for farmers and landowners which were recently stripped away in a controversial law backed by the Governor that took control of wind and solar farms from local governments.
Senate Bill 1699, supported by the members of the Senate Republican Caucus, would protect farmers and landowners by requiring wind and solar developers to plan for and repair or pay for agricultural crop losses, damage to subsurface drainage systems, as well as requiring them to repair or pay for the restoration of surface drainage caused by construction and deconstruction of wind and solar facilities.
The legislation, which passed unanimously in both chambers, will also require a study on the potential impact of proposals on the stability and reliability of the state’s electrical grid. The legislation also makes a technical change allowing the Adjustable Block Program to include at least 15% renewable generation on public school land rather than just public schools, which could help schools that want to invest in solar or wind projects to save money on utilities.
State Senator Sue Rezin says this bill was desperately needed to undo some of the damage that has been done as a result of the Governor’s green energy push. She says this legislation is a positive step in the right direction, but that she continues to advocate for restoring local control over wind and solar projects.