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Legality of wind farm moratorium called into question

Eau Claire County (WQOW) — A moratorium on wind energy development might not stop a new wind farm from moving into Eau Claire County.

Questions have been raised about the legality of the moratorium that the Clear Creek Town Board passed on Monday. It called for no wind turbine operations permits to be approved in the town for one year.

The moratorium is in response to a preliminary proposal by RWE Renewable Americas to build between 40 and 70 wind turbines on approximately 20,000 acres of land in the towns of Clear Creek and Pleasant Valley.

Officials with the state’s Public Service Commission said the legality of the moratorium depends on the interpretation of a state statute, which says local governmental bodies cannot pass rules more restrictive than those imposed by the commission unless “to preserve or protect the public health or safety.”

Clear Creek officials told News 18 that they believe that is what this moratorium does.

Eau Claire County Corporation Counsel Tim Sullivan told News 18 he plans to submit a formal opinion to the county on the matter by Saturday.

Stephen Kelley

Stephen Kelley joined the News 18 team in August 2006. He is currently the Executive Producer and an Evening Anchor.

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