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WY Passes Wind Turbine Disposal Bill

Thursday, March 5, 2020

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At the end of February, the Wyoming House of Representatives passed House Bill 217—which aims to ban the disposal of wind turbines in Wyoming-based landfills—in a 38-21 vote.

In addition, the legislation offers alternatives to where discarded turbine blades could be discarded, such as recycling facilities or somewhere the blades can be properly broken down or repurposed.

About the Legislation

Sponsored by Wyoming Rep. Carl Loucks (R) and Sen. James Lee Anderson (R), the bill intends to provide health and safety practices for the public while offering a solution for proper turbine blade disposal.

CreativeNature / Getty Images

At the end of February, Wyoming House of Representatives passed House Bill 217—which aims to ban the disposal of wind turbines in Wyoming-based landfills—in a 38-21 vote.

“We need to re-purpose these blades,” Loucks said ahead of the vote. “There is lots of new research out there saying that these can be recycled. It is in the best interest of the state to not pile them up into our landfills. Have them re-purposed.”

Although, the legislation was criticized by members of Casper City Council for issues including, but not limited to, the lack of proper recycling facilities within the state and the revenue the Casper Regional Landfill was already receiving for accepting the blades to dispose.

Not to mention, because turbine blades are partially made from fiberglass, some of the material can’t be recycled.

“15% of the components [of wind turbines] are not recyclable,” Rep. Pat Sweeney (R) said. “If this went into place right now, those components would have to be shipped out of state because it is a total ban.”

Due to his opposition, Sweeney suggested that the original effective date of July 1 be moved in order to make the proper arrangements. The amendment was adopted, moving the legislation’s effective date to July 1, 2024.

However, even after the amendment, Sweeney was reported by Oil City News to still be in opposition with the bill, requesting that his colleagues kill the bill this year and reconsider in 2021.

In favor of the legislation, Rep. Mike Greear (R) said, “This is actually to encourage diversion from out landfills. I think we all believe strongly in recycling and diversion. It has been very difficult in Wyoming to engage in diversion. This type of bill encourages that.”

In another related legislation, House Bill 129 allows only the base materials of blades and towers to be buried in abandoned coal mine sites, requiring “the removal of all mechanical, electrical and other materials from the decommissioned wind turbine blades and towers.”

This bill was also passed in a vote of 56-3.

“These are not parts that can be recycled,” Rep. Eric Barlow (R) said on Monday. “It keeps them out of the land fills. It maybe generate a little bit of a revenue for those coal mines.”

Both bills will now move to the Senate for consideration.

   

Tagged categories: Environmental Protection; Government; Health & Safety; NA; North America; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

Comment from Jeffrey Smith, (3/5/2020, 9:31 AM)

Use them to build the wall. Win Win Situation. That was easy.


Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/6/2020, 9:48 AM)

Wyoming: Super concerned about relatively small volumes of inert waste from wind turbine blades. No concern about about mountains of toxic coal ash leaching heavy metals into the groundwater. Hmmmm.


Comment from Mark Bowen, (3/13/2020, 1:20 PM)

Coal mines and wind turbine blades. Exhausted energy sources wind up in the same place.


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