From the Office of State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa

April 4, 2011
CONTACT: Daniela Santoni
(512) 463-0120
(281) 536-7114


(Austin, TX) — Today, Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa's Amendment to Senator Jackson's SB 497 was approved by the Senate. The amendment changes the reporting process for wind farm development and helps prevent hazardous conditions for air navigation.

Under the current process of notification for the development of a wind farm, a developer must advise the Federal Aviation Administration at least 45 days before the start of construction. The FAA then notifies 8 different entities - FAA Airport Division, FAA Flight Procedures Division, FAA Flight Standards Division, FAA Frequency Management, FAA Technical Operations, Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army and Department of the Navy - who then look over the project and voice approval or objection. If there is an objection, it is up to the developer to meet with the objecting party to resolve the conflict.

The FAA must have clearance from all entities before issuing a "determination of no hazard;" however, there is no legal recourse to stop a developer from putting up a wind farm, even if the project doesn't receive a determination of no hazard. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa released the following statement.

"Right now, there is no legislation or legal recourse to stop a developer from putting up a wind farm, even if the FAA has denied a determination on no-hazard. This issue needed to be addressed - these wind farms can create dangerous conditions for air navigation.

"This amendment will allow us to impose a fine or penalty to a developer who moves forward with the construction or expansion of a wind-powered generation facility, before they file the FAA determination of no hazard with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

"Under the amendment, the PUC can implement penalties and other actions against a developer who doesn't comply - they can adopt rules and conduct proceedings necessary to administer and enforce these regulations.

"When this becomes law, our military installations and airports, will have more resources to prevent a possibly dangerous or hazardous situation."