ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY/AP) — North Carolina legislators want the incoming Trump administration to shut down a utility-scale wind farm nearing completion because they say it poses a national security threat.
A spokesman for state House Speaker Tim Moore said Thursday a letter signed by Moore and other legislators was sent to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.
The lawmakers said they worry the wind turbines and blades rising about 50 stories above northeastern North Carolina farmlands could interfere with long-distance Navy radar installation in nearby Chesapeake. The radar system scans for ships and planes hundreds of miles into the Atlantic and Caribbean.
“I just think we need to protect those who are protecting us,” said State Senator Bill Cooke. “This wind farm is out there and those huge turbines are 500 feet in the air and are in the way of this radar.”
The 104 turbines sit in a field outside Elizabeth City. Lawmakers believe they will not only interfere with long range radar coming from Chesapeake, but also with pilots who are training.
“How would you like to be flying your plane along and you’re learning who to do low altitude protection of troops on the ground and you find yourself face to face with a 500 foot turbine?” Cooke asked.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on this project already,” said state Representative Bob Steinburg.
Steinburg was and still is in favor of the project. He can’t believe his colleagues don’t feel the same.
“We’ve already planned on this and the revenue coming in,” Steinburg added. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
A spokesman for Avangrid Renewables, the wind farm’s builder, says all the towers are complete and full electricity production is weeks away. Amazon is buying the clean power to run its Virginia data centers.
“The defense department already has a detailed review process,” said Paul Copleman with Avangrid. “We went through it. It was robust. It was rigorous. It works as intended. There has been plenty of opportunity for input. We have worked together with the Department of Defense in that time to get the project ready.”
Navy officials tell 10 On Your Side the wind farm doesn’t interfere with the Chesapeake radar.