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Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition get the facts wrong

In response to the full-page wind turbine advertisements that appeared in recent editions of the Cumberland Times-News and The Republican, the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition states that it is important to know the facts about wind power and presumes to list several of the so-called facts.

To address a few of the “facts”:

Logging is done by private companies on state lands, and yes, the state gains some revenue; however, this is not an industrial process, as the advertiser wants readers to believe. Harvesting timber is a valid silvicultural practice and a part of sound forest management. Before logging takes place, tracts of land are cruised (in layman’s terms, meaning the amount of available timber for harvest is measured), and a contract is developed with the logger that provides for careful planning of roads, protection of water quality, and forest regeneration. This cycle allows timber to be harvested, yet keeps the forest in good health for future production. And, since the logger is only in an area temporarily, access roads are reseeded upon completion of the operation and do not cause significant impact.

The advertiser states that “for each turbine only about 1.5 to 2 acres will be disturbed during construction.” That number adds up more quickly than you think! And yes, the areas where the turbines are installed would have to be clear-cut. Clear-cuts are not bad – in fact, they too are a valid forest management practice and forest regeneration method; however, clear-cutting for the installation of wind turbines would take many acres of forest land out of production – forever!

Do they take into account the roads that will have to be constructed and maintained to access the turbines for maintenance purposes? The massive areas of mountaintop that would have to be cleared and the roads that would have to be maintained to keep these turbines up and running would be cleared of forest, the soil would be compacted as a result of installation, and trees would not be able to grow productively on the site in the future. Not to mention that the public land that is currently used for a variety of forest management and recreational activities would only have one use – a private company’s long-term investment.

I am not the “not in my backyard type.” I have formal education and experience in the forestry field to back my statements. I just wonder where the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition got its forestry information.

Melissa Stevens

Frostburg

The Republican Newspaper

31 January 2008