In this day and age in America, particularly while in the midst of the presidential campaigns, one can easily grow weary of the great divisiveness between and among our citizens on many and various issues. How amazingly gratifying it was last night to be a part of the public meeting held at Garrett College that centered on the proposal to lease state forestland in Garrett County to developers of wind energy. Never before has this writer witnessed such an incredible oneness, such a united front, by local residents against an idea or proposal.
The crowd of around 500 consisted of people from the opposite ends of just about any spectrum one selects, and everywhere in between, and yet the message was clear and consistent – We stand united against the proposal to allow wind turbines to be placed on state forestland in Garrett County.
The mass consisted of people from a wide variety of ages, incomes, occupations, education, and political preference. There were farmers, engineers, custodians, artists, realtors, teachers, and journalists. There were retirees, and those in the midst of their careers. There were natives of the county, as well as many persons who have moved to the county in recent years. There were second-home owners who enjoy vacation time here. In a political vein, the ultra liberals stood side by side with the staunch conservatives on the issue, truly a rare sight.
The reasons cited for opposing the proposal were as numerous and as diverse as the crowd itself – well thought out and well stated. The speakers were passionate in their stance and in their delivery, but there was no screaming or other forms of outrageous behavior.
It is hoped that Governor O’Malley and the other powers-that-be received a crystal clear message last night, and will respond to this proposal as they should – by respecting and honoring the wishes of the vast majority of Garrett County residents. For not only were there 500 people in attendance, with approximately 95% in opposition, but several spoke on behalf of large organizations, and thus represented literally thousands of others not in attendance, but who share the same opinion.
Regardless of the outcome, this is one Garrett County native who was exceedingly proud that so many fellow residents recognize the gravity of this proposal and showed up at the college last night. We continue to encourage all – yes, even those in favor of the proposal – to submit opinions by mail or via e-mail to: www.dnr.state.md.us/sustainability/wpm/.
31 January 2008
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