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Timbering is responsible; wind turbines are not

It is interesting to read in an ad that the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition is using a rationale for the placing of wind turbines on state land on a fact that the forests are already destroyed by gypsy moths.

The state of Maryland is receiving documented revenue from the careful planning and cooperative efforts of the Department of Natural Resources from timbering. The developers of the wind turbines have yet to issue revenue projections with minimum guarantees which are paramount in good business practices.

Their statement that implies since the state forests are being used for timbering purposes, the state forests make good locations for the placement of the wind turbines. What about forest re-vegetation and re-growth? Wind turbines are forever. The timbering of our state forests is vital for the preservation of the forests. Timbering is responsible forest management.

Despite the claim that the wind turbine projects in the state forests are a good source of jobs, we know wind turbine developments do not create sustainable jobs for the area due to the requirement of short-term specialty skills.

Considering that I am not a science expert by any means, my point is, while it is important to seek alternative and renewable energy sources for the future, I do not think it is appropriate to lease Maryland state forest property for wind source energy. The leasing of state forest property will not release Maryland or our nation for that matter from being dependant of foreign energy oil.

Nor will the proposed wind turbines in the state forests of Maryland by U.S. Wind Force or any other company, no matter how many wind turbines, will create sufficient energy to meet the total demand for electrical energy today or the future. Nor will wind turbines eliminate the requirement for fossil fuel and/or nuclear energy according to experts.

It seems though, if you consider all sources of electrical energy, they all have a drawback of some sort, either by emission, a danger to wildlife habitat, or impact the environment either by placement or by a nuclear mismanaged disaster.

Our state forests were designated to preserve the environment. As citizens and taxpayers, we are all custodians of the state forest land to insure that it be preserved and enjoyed, and it is up to us to protect our state forests from the ruin caused by commercial development so that our children, grandchildren, and future generations may also enjoy the state forests as much as we have in our life time.

There is abundant property that is privately owned and able to be developed through the private development process to allow for wind source energy projects which are a good supplement for our electrical energy needs. The state of Maryland instead of simply offering our state owned forest treasure can do far more good in assisting those interested in the development of wind source energy and those who own the appropriate land who want to pursue this type of land use though the private developing process in the form of incentives.

Lou Battistella

Cumberland Times-News

29 January 2008