Air Force Requests Congressional Intervention Over Wind Turbines Near Nuclear Missile Sites
Aerial drone view of wind turbines.
Credit: ljubaphoto via Getty Images.

The Air Force has requested that Congress pass legislation to stop wind turbines from encroaching on nuclear missile sites throughout the U.S.

According to the Air Force, underground nuclear missile sites in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado need to be shielded from the growing wind turbine industry for safety and security concerns. The Air Force says that 46 of the 450 underground nuclear missile sites have been “severely” encroached upon. Some wind turbines can stand 650 feet tall and present a barrier for helicopters carrying technicians or others who need to access the sites.

“When you think about a wind turbine, and even fields of wind turbines, they’ll stretch for miles,” Staff Sgt. Chase Rose, a UH-1 Huey flight engineer at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, told the Associated Press. “They’re monstrous, and then you have gigantic blades spinning on them as well. Not only is that a physical obstacle, but those turbines, they create the hazards like turbulence as well. That can be really dangerous for us to fly into. So it’s a very complex situation, when you have to deal with those.”

The Air Force is advocating for legislation that would mandate a 2-nautical-mile buffer zone around the hundreds of underground missile launch sites throughout the U.S. The Air Force and the American Clean Power Association drafted the legislation.

“The wind industry recognizes the nuclear missile silo mission is unique,” said American Clean Power Association spokesman Jason Ryan. “However, one-size-fits-all setbacks do not make sense for other [Department of Defense] missions or assets as site-specific and mission-specific evaluations are necessary to ensure military readiness.”


Air Force Maj. Victoria Hight, a spokeswoman for F.E. Warren Air Force Base, said the wind turbines can hamper “safe helicopter transit and nuclear security operations” but that the Air Force supports “renewable energy efforts to include wind turbines, and we continue to work with energy industry partners to ensure the country’s green energy needs are met.”

The Biden administration has aggressively pushed a “transition” to green energy, including announcing the development of onshore renewable energy projects across the West.

“Investing in clean and reliable renewable energy represents the [Bureau of Land Management’s] commitment to addressing climate change and supports direction from the President and Congress to permit 25 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal production on public lands no later than 2025,” the Bureau of Land Management said on Monday when announcing plans for 15 major projects throughout the West.

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