Wind turbine siting law now becalmed, passed in last minutes of House session


A proposal to streamline the development of wind turbine projects — hailed by supporters as a boon for clean energy and lambasted by critics as a giveaway to developers — came one procedural vote short of making its way to the governor.

Gov. Deval Patrick told reporters Monday that he hoped the senate would push the bill through during informal sessions, but it won’t happen if Sen. Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) has anything to say about it. Knapik and other western Massachusetts lawmakers have worried that they’d bear the brunt of wind development if the bill makes it to the governor’s desk.

The legislation was one of a handful of bills Patrick called for as a condition for his support of a single slot machine facility, an offer he withdrew on Monday. Without the bill, its supporters say, the state will have more trouble meeting its renewable energy goals.

The bill consumed the final 20 minutes of formal sessions in the house, passing at midnight after tense moments and raising questions about why the bill, one of the first major policy initiatives to emerge from conference in the final week of formals, had become hung up after winning majority votes in both branches.