While few would argue that our nation needs alternative, renewable sources of energy to support a healthy environment and reduce our reliance on foreign oil, a proposal by U.S. Wind Force to lease 400 mountaintop acres in the Savage River State Forest and Potomac State Forest so it can install about 100 wind turbines the size of the Washington Monument, may be one of the most destructive and dangerous policy proposals ever to confront he citizens of Allegany and Garrett Counties.
Mountain Maryland is one of the few places remaining in the state that has not been overtaken completely by overzealous development and greed.
It’s ironic that the same arguments being used by proponents of wind turbines in state forests can also be used for the devastating mountaintop removal of coal. This is energy independence?
It is very troubling that Gov. O’Malley is even considering this proposal, while at the same time promoting tourism and economic growth in our region. This is good stewardship of our natural resources and an improvement to our public land? This is government working in our behalf?
At the Mountain Maryland PACE Legislative Breakfast held earlier this year, our Governor said, ” … we are preserving our heritage – protecting our forests … and promoting tourism.” Really?
He went on to say, “What’s good for one part of or state is good for our entire state.” So, that being the case, why not build these monstrosities around the Baltimore and Washington beltways in central Maryland? God knows there is no shortage of wind down there.
If sustaining our quality of life is a hallmark of his administration, how does destroying our pristine state forests protect them for our children and grandchildren?
Let’s not forget that these 500-foot-tall wind turbines would be visible from some of our most popular tourist recreation areas, Deep Creek Lake and the Savage River Reservoir.
Fortunately, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be holding a public hearing on this matter on Jan. 23, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Grantsville Elementary School.
John N. Bambacus
(Bambacus is professor emeritus at Frostburg State University and a former state senator)
18 December 2007
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