Concerning the industrial wind turbine plant that US Wind Force is proposing to use public lands, the Garrett County Democratic Central Committee is opposed, and urges all county residents, voters, and businesses to show opposition by attending the public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., at Garrett College.
Public land should not be used for this purpose. Our state forests are essential to support our local economy and jobs, and these lands must be protected.
Large propellers sitting on our ridge tops are the reverse of the “leave no trace” philosophy of the DNR and those who live in and enjoy our county.
The same company is seeking to construct at least five additional similar plants in or near Garrett County, and there are an additional 17 plants under consideration by other companies. These are in addition to the existing turbines already placed in Somerset County, Pa., Tucker County, W.Va., and other close-by areas. The total number of turbines in Garrett County could easily number 300-400 massive machines – approximately 40-stories high.
We believe our environment and economic development associated with Deep Creek Lake must be protected for the future. The tourist and vacation industry of Garrett County may be damaged by this type of large-scale, industrial use of public lands. The turbines will be able to be seen from most of the county, and it is likely that restrictions will be placed on use of the state forests by the public for a 20-40-year period. This type of development, and resulting restrictions, will severely damage lumbering and forest management practices, hunting, camping, hiking, fishing, and other recreational uses.
The jobs resulting from this project will be extremely short-term construction jobs, lasting only about six to nine months, and are described as skilled – most of these jobs will not be filled by local people. The permanent jobs may be as few as five, and these will be low-paying, minimum-wage maintenance and security jobs. This type of employment will not help Garrett Countians or young families.
All of the electricity generated by the turbines will be sold to the electric power grid; none of the electricity will directly benefit Garrett County residents or businesses.
We urge everyone to attend the public hearing, and immediately contact Governor O’Malley, all our legislators, and the county commissioners, stating your opposition.
James R. “Smokey” Stanton
Chair, Garrett County
17 January 2008
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