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Illinois passes offshore legislation for Lake Michigan

UNITED STATES: Illinois state governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation to pave the way for the development of offshore wind farms in the state waters of Lake Michigan.

Illiinois governor Pat Quinn
Illiinois governor Pat Quinn

Quinn has signed two bills, one that creates a council to study offshore wind-energy projects in Lake Michigan and one that clears the way for more wind-energy projects throughout Illinois.
 
House Bill 1558 creates the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council within the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The council will review the potential for wind-energy projects in the waters of Lake Michigan. It will be chaired by the director of the IDNR and will be made up of representatives from state agencies and organisations that include environmental, tourism, education and energy entities.
 
After examining wildlife impact, protected habitats and recreational uses of Lake Michigan, the council will identify locations that would be appropriate for offshore wind development.

The council will present its recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly by 30 June 2012. The law goes into effect immediately.
 
Governor Quinn also signed House Bill 1487, which creates the Renewable Energy Production District Act. This allows county boards to establish renewable-energy districts or wind-farm districts with immediate effect.
 
"These bills give the state additional tools to further enhance Illinois’ growing renewable-energy industry," said Quinn.
 
"A thriving green-energy sector will further strengthen Illinois’ economy, create jobs and boost our economic recovery."

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