Contact: State Rep. Charles Ortega
Phone: (405) 557-7369
OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill clarifying language regarding the protection of military airspace and training routes was signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt on Monday.
House Bill 2118 was authored by Rep. Charles Ortega (R-Altus), who said the legislation is the continuation of efforts to protect military airspace after legislation passed during the 2018 session left unaddressed clear enforcement authority after its implementation.
HB 2118 clears up any ambiguity by clarifying that wind companies must receive full clearance from the U.S. Dept. of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration processes prior to beginning construction. According to Ortega, unclear language in the 2018 bill resulted in a wind company constructing turbines in military airspace without proper clearance from the Dept. of Defense and FAA.
“Oklahoma has an abundance of airspace available that is used by the Department of Defense during lower-level military training,” Ortega said. “Oklahoma has survived previous base realignments and closures. If we don’t protect our airspace, we run the risk of that training moving elsewhere, but it’s also important to ensure we develop legislation that allows ample opportunity for wind energy companies to move into our state.”
Ortega said he worked with several interests to develop the change, including wind energy companies, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission and the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.
“Many states across the country are trying to find a solution to the same problem,” Mike Cooper, Chairman of Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, said. “HB2118 protects our state’s number one asset, which is available airspace. It helps us protect military’s mission capabilities and is considered to be landmark legislation by the Department of Defense.”
HB 2118 was authored in the Senate by Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-Tulsa).
“Protecting military airspace is important to our national defense, but we also need to acknowledge that our bases in Oklahoma are an important part of our economy,” Stanislawski said. “Likewise, renewable energy is also important to our state’s economy and in meeting current and future energy needs. This legislation is aimed at addressing both of these areas. I was gratified to work with Representative Ortega on this measure, and I want to thank our fellow legislators and the governor for their support.”
HB 2118 was signed into with an emergency clause, which put the bill into effect immediately upon being signed by the Governor.