The Garrett County Democratic Central Committee voted to oppose a proposal to use public state forest land to build industrial-size wind turbine plants in the Potomac State Forest and the Savage River State Forest.
The GCDCC will present testimony in opposition at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 6:30 p.m. at Garrett College, and at the DNR hearing in Annapolis on Thursday, Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m. at the Arundel Center.
“All residents, voters, visitors, and business owners should attend both hearings if at all possible to voice opposition to our public lands being used in this manner,” said James R. “Smokey” Stanton, committee chair.
“Also, everyone is urged to write letters, call, and send e-mails to the governor, our senator and delegate, the county commissioners, and the DNR secretary, letting them know of the strong opposition to the US Wind Force proposal.”
Stanton said that the wind turbines proposed are not the relatively smaller ones already in Somerset County, Pa., and Tucker County, W.Va.
“The proposed turbines in the state forests are monster turbines, reaching 40 stories in height and with a huge footprint,” he said.
“By comparison, Garrett County Memorial Hospital is about four stories high, and the Wisp condominiums are about seven stories high. Turbines this tall and the very large bases will disrupt both recreational uses and good forest management practices.
“We are aware of the lobbying in Annapolis that US Wind Force is paying for,” he continued, “and we are aware of the law that was passed deregulating wind plants. We also know that the county has not adopted any zoning laws restricting wind industry development, and the draft Garrett County Comprehensive Plan appears to encourage such development.”
Stanton said that the effect of those decisions is to block most opportunities for public input.
“Therefore it is absolutely critical that the public be heard through at-tending and speaking at the public hearings, through letters and e-mails, and by telephone calls.”
Describing the tactics of the developers as “slick and seductive,” Stanton added, “They promise tax revenue, but take advantage of tax subsidies. They speak of economic development, but take advantage of six-year depreciation. They promise jobs, but use out-of-area contractors, leaving five or six minimum-wage maintenance and security jobs. They promise cheap energy, but sell to the electric grid with no electricity or reduced rates for Garrett County. They claim to be environmentally sensitive, but construct transmission lines and access roads, and place no-trespassing signs and guards to stop the public from using public lands. They say the gypsy moths have already eaten the forests, so there is nothing to destroy.
“Now is the time for all concerned about Garrett County to stand up and be heard opposing these proposals,” he concluded.
The GCDCC notes the addresses and contacts for elected officials are as follows:
Governor Martin O’Malley, 100 State Circle Annapolis, MD 21401, 1-800-811-8336 (toll-free);
Senator George C. Edwards, James Senate Office Building, Room 322, 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3565 (toll-free); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Delegate Wendell R. Beitzel, House Office Building, Room 320, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3435 (toll-free), e-mail: wen email@example.com;
Delegate Robert A. Mc-Kee, Chair, Western Maryland Delegation, House Of-fice Building, Room 321, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401, 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3447 (toll-free); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Garrett County Commissioners Dennis G. Glotfelty, Ernest J. Gregg, and Frederick A. Holliday, County Courthouse, 203 South Fourth Street, Room 207, Oakland, MD, 21550, 301-334-8970; email@example.com.
17 January 2008
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