The Western Maryland Delegation has retracted its support for a wind turbine project being proposed for state land in Garrett County. U.S. Wind Force recently asked Gov. Martin O’Malley for leases in Potomac and Savage River state forests to clear an estimated 400 acres in order to construct up to 100 40-story-tall wind turbines.
The delegation – made up of 15 lawmakers from Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll counties – wrote a letter to O’Malley on Oct. 1, 2007, indicating its support for the project.
Del. Robert A. McKee, Dist. 2A, however, wrote another letter to O’Malley on Monday, Jan. 28.
“I am retracting the support of the Western Maryland Delegation for the initiative, but do personally believe that western Maryland would benefit from the project,” McKee wrote. “The letter was written after discussion with members of the Western Maryland Delegation, but without a vote of the full membership. In no way do I want to mislead you or misrepresent the opinion of the membership of the delegation. I do believe that wind farms can help the region meet expected future power demands with a safe, pollution free, renewable, and reliable source of power.”
The Department of Natural Resources held a public forum on the project last night at Garrett College. Another meeting is scheduled this evening in Annapolis at the Arundel Center at 6:30 p.m.
“My understanding is that the Department of Natural Resources will be establishing a policy on whether to allow wind farms on public lands,” Mc-Kee wrote. “That policy will only be made after public hearings are held. Hopefully, the department’s decision will be the fair one that is balanced between their current logging policy, the desire to protect the beauty of the mountains, and the need to find viable solutions to the real energy crisis we face.”
Del. Wendell Beitzel, who represents Garrett County and a portion of Allegany County, voiced his opposition to wind turbines being placed on state lands in December.
Sen. George Edwards wrote O’Malley two weeks ago, also stating his opposition.
In addition to the public hearings, the DNR is accepting comments online at www.dnr.state.md.us/sustainability/wpm.
31 January 2008
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