Chair of Locke Lord’s Renewable Energy Section and Houston Environmental Partner Ben Cowan was quoted by Law360 on S.B. 624, proposed Texas legislation that would require wind and solar projects to obtain permits from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) following environmental reviews by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and establish fees and minimum setbacks for projects from property lines and occupied structures. Cowan notes that if the bill is enacted, it would be a “seismic shift for the state of Texas,” departing from its historically relaxed approach to permitting and development.
“It's also a shift that the state would be unprepared to implement,” Cowan adds. "PUCT does not have a permitting apparatus, and our parks and wildlife agency does not have a branch that has any expertise, let alone resources, to manage the environmental impact reviews the bill would require. If this were to pass, new wind and solar development would essentially grind to a halt in Texas until those kinds of permitting apparatuses can be created."
Read the full Law360 article here (subscription may be required).
Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest to your inbox.