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Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., sent a letter to Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) Administrator Timothy Meeks urging the development of a wind power permitting process that does not unduly burden wind developers and landowners, while at the same time, accounting for wildlife habitat preservation issues.

"South Dakota has the potential to provide much of the country with clean, abundant, renewable energy produced by our state's steady winds," says Thune. "It is important that the development of this resource move forward efficiently and that South Dakota's wind energy potential is not stymied by excessive regulation and delays."

WAPA is currently developing a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for wind projects in the Upper Great Lakes Region in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The intent of the PEIS is to streamline future environmental studies by addressing generic environmental impacts of wind development that would not be specific to a particular permit request. The end result, if properly carried out, would be expedited environmental studies for future wind development projects.

SOURCE: Office of Sen. John Thune

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