This column has been utilized several times over the past few years to express opposition to the placement of wind turbines in Garrett County. The various proposed sites for these monster towers have all involved private property – until now.
U.S. Wind Force, a Pennsylvania-based company, has made a request of the state of Maryland to lease some 400 acres of state forestland to place 100 turbines atop Backbone and Meadow mountains. These would, of course, be in addition to dozens of other turbines tentatively scheduled to be erected on private property on Backbone.
This company has received cooperation from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources already in helping it determine the best possible sites for these turbines. Residents will remember the helicopter fly-over of Garrett County by the governor a couple months ago, supposedly to give him a first-hand look at the gypsy moth damage. Well, it seems that the real reason for that flight had little to do with gypsy moths, and a whole lot to do with checking out possible sites for wind farms.
Rehashing the many downsides of wind turbines and wind-produced energy is not the intent here today. And one might be able to make a fairly reasonable argument in support of the turbines when the placement is going to be on private property (e.g., property owner’s rights).
However, because this proposal calls for the use of “protected,” state-owned (that is, technically, citizen-owned) lands for these projects, we have a whole new ballgame, and every single resident of Garrett County – even those who generally support wind-produced energy – should vehemently oppose it. If Governor O’Malley and the other two members of the Public Service Commission approve this (and the governor is really the only individual who has the power to stop it), it will be an absolute travesty. It would amount to our own governor selling us out here in Garrett County by opening this particular door that will lead to the degradation of our most pristine land; a door that would never again be closed.
The DNR has scheduled a public meeting to receive input from the general public on this proposal. It will be held January 23 in Grantsville. Local residents are strongly urged to mark their calendars now and plan to be there.
In the meantime, we are pleased that Delegate Wendell Beitzel has publicly stated that he is opposed to this proposal, and we hope that he will do everything in his power to put a stop to it, including introducing a bill in the 2008 General Assembly next month to make this an illegal use of state-owned forestland. Obviously, it is hoped that our county commissioners would jump on board in support of this legislation. Senator George Edwards has yet to formally state a clear position on the proposal, and we urge him to do so very soon.
More to come…
13 December 2007
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