Congressman Thornberry Introduces Public Safety Bill

Press Release

Date: Sept. 23, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-Clarendon) introduced legislation aimed at increasing public safety by improving the accuracy of weather observation stations. This bill allows the National Weather Service (NWS) to protect the weather observation stations in the same way the Department of Defense (DOD) does by requiring wind energy producers to receive an evaluation prior to the development of a wind farm.
In 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the DOD published a joint report addressing the impacts of wind farms on weather radars and military operations (read the full report here). The report, while acknowledging the value of renewable wind energy, identified numerous issues that resulted from the placement of wind farms near radar equipment, such as the false appearance of a flood on an otherwise sunny day or the masking of the presence of a tornado forming.

Key provisions, the Accurate Weather for Public Safety Act:

Utilizes the current evaluation process shared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and DOD, and includes an analysis by the NWS on potential impacts wind energy projects have on weather observation stations
Requires the NWS to assess the scope of harm and provide a corrective action plan to ensure wind energy developments do not risk public safety
Requires an annual report to Congress addressing all reviews of wind farm projects over the previous calendar year, including those that received unfavorable recommendations