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Congressman Thornberry Introduces Public Safety Bill

Washington, September 23, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kamal Patel
Date Published 9/23/2020 (202) 225-3706

Congressman Thornberry Introduces the "Accurate Weather for Public Safety Act"


WASHINGTON - 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

You can read the full text of the bill here.