AFL-CIO president, GOP legislators oppose moratorium on wind farms

Is it is an ill wind or a refreshing breeze that puts the Connecticut AFL-CIO president and Republican legislators on the same side?

John Olsen, the AFL-CIO leader and former Democratic state chairman, testified today against a proposed moratorium on commercial wind farms sought by a prominent Democrat.

Olsen said the bill proposed by Rep. Vickie Nardello, D-Prospect, the co-chair of the energy committee, in response to a project planned for her district, would be a blow to construction unions desperate for work.

“This bill is simply a project killer, a jobs killer and it will devastate the emerging wind industry in the state,” said Olsen, who also is the vice chairman of the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

Olsen’s position put him on the same side as Republicans on the committee, who questioned why the legislature should halt projects that are now seeking the approval of the Connecticut Siting Council.

Nardello has been a booster of alternative energy, but projects proposed by BNE Energy in Prospect and Colebrook have demonstrated that wind farms often are more popular in the abstract.

Neighboring property owners complain that the 400-foot tall turbines would be an eyesore, damaging local property values.