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Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects
then developing and refining options. “Regulation,” as understood within a legal framework, typically consists of methods and standards to implement laws. Regulation is created and carried out by public agencies charged with this responsibility by law. The scope of agency discretion in establishing and administering regulations depends largely upon whether the law is highly detailed or more general.
The chapter begins with a review of guidelines that have been developed to direct wind-energy planning and/or regulation. Some of these have been promulgated by governmental or non-governmental organizations concerned with limited aspects of wind energy, such as the guidelines for reducing wildlife impacts developed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 2003). Some are more comprehensive in scope, such as those developed by the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC 2002). We also consider guidelines developed by states to direct wind-energy development toward areas judged most suitable and to assist local governments in carrying out their regulatory responsibilities with respect to wind energy. Then we review regulation of wind-energy development via federal laws, including development on federal lands, in situations where there is a federal nexus by reason of federal funding or permitting, and where there is no such nexus. Next we review regulation of wind-energy development at the state and local levels by concentrating on recurring themes: the locus of regulatory authority (state, local, or a combination thereof); the locus of review for environmental effects; information required for review; public participation in the review; and balancing positive and negative effects of wind-energy development. In these sections we also report on the interaction between planning and regulation, although that interaction is generally less well developed in the United States than in some of the other countries we examined. Then we critique what we have learned about regulation of wind energy by examining some of the tensions in regulation, for example between local and broader-level interests and between flexibility and predictability of regulatory processes. Finally, we present a set of recommendations for improving wind-energy planning and regulation in the United States.
GUIDELINES FOR WIND-ENERGY PLANNING AND REGULATION
In the United States and, notably, in other nations with considerable wind-energy experience, governmental and non-governmental organizations working at various geographic scales have adopted guidelines to help those developing wind-energy projects and those regulating wind-energy development to meet a mix of public and private interests in a complex, and often controversial, technical environment. Here we review U.S. guidelines for different jurisdictional levels (e.g., state, local), for different environ-