Sen. George Edwards has now joined Del. Wendell Beitzel in voicing opposition to industrial wind turbines being placed on public lands. Edwards wrote a letter last week informing Gov. Martin O’Malley of his position on the issue.
“I know you have a strong interest in looking at ways to increase our electricity production, as do I,” Edwards wrote. “As I told you, I am writing to state my opposition to putting windmills on state land in Garrett and Allegany counties.”
Pennsylvania-based U.S. Wind Force recently asked O’Malley for leases in Potomac and Savage River state forests to clear an estimated 400 acres and to construct up to 100 40-story tall wind turbines. Since that information became public last month, many local residents and groups have stated their opposition to the project.
“This is not a partisan issue,” Edwards wrote in his letter to O’Malley. “I have taken time to look at the issue and speak to numerous individuals and groups. These groups include sportsmen’s clubs, union leaders, environmentalists, and the like. By far the majority of these people oppose the construction of windmills on state lands (even those who support windmills).”
Edwards acknowledged that energy is one of the most important issues facing the entire nation and that work must be done as quickly as possibly to achieve energy independence. But, he wrote, as the Maryland Energy Administration’s Strategic Electricity Plan points out, there is no “silver bullet” that will enable Maryland to solve this problem overnight.
“That is why we will need to use all of the energy resources we have, in addition to conservation, to get to that goal,” Edwards wrote.
But the senator went on to state, “There can never be enough windmills built in Maryland to even come close to meeting the increased demand in electricity needs by 2025. Nevertheless, based on all of the information I have gathered and evaluated, I respectfully request that you not allow windmills on state land in Garrett and Allegany counties.”
The Department of Natural Resources will hold two public forums for Marylanders to express their views on wind turbines being placed on public land. The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 6:30 until 9 p.m. in the Garrett College auditorium, McHenry, and Thursday, Jan. 31, from 6:30 until 9 p.m. in the Arundel Center, Room 161, 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis.
Written comments are also accepted online at www.dnr.state.md.us/sustainability/wpm.
24 January 2008
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