Air Force wants nuclear missile sites protected from wind farms

In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, wind turbines spin near the Malmstrom Air Force Base missile launch site Alpha-03 in Geyser, Mont., in August 2023. As the nation's energy needs have increased, turbines have grown in size and number, and are being placed closer to the underground silos where Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles are kept ready to fire. The Air Force is concerned that the turbines are making it dangerous for their helicopter crews to fly out to the sites, often flying low and fast, when responding to an alarm at one of the silos. The service is seeking a two nautical mile buffer zone around the sites. (John Turner/U.S. Air Force via AP)


The growth of wind farms across the upper Midwest has prompted the Air Force to ask Congress for protection for its underground nuclear missile silos.

It’s something similar to the flap that developed a few years ago when the Air Force felt the growth of wind farms in Oklahoma endangered pilots at the air bases in Enid and Altus. It resulted in a new law signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2018 that protects the military aviation corridors used by four Air Force bases and an Army installation.

Now the Air Force is seeing the same growing problem at its nuclear missile silo sites in Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming where there are hundreds of underground silos. The military wants congressional approval to create a 2-nautical-mile buffer zone around each of the silos.

So far, the request has the support of the wind industry. But the American Clean Power Association cautions against a “one size-fits-all setback.”

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