More often than not, when governmental agencies hold public meetings in our area, a handful of people show up. But 300 or 400 people at one meeting?
That was the case Thursday night when the Maryland Department of Natural Resources held a public hearing on U.S. Wind Force’s request to lease and clear about 400 acres in the Potomac and Savage River state forests to erect 100 wind turbines.
Sentiment against the proposal is running deep and strong. Forty-five people signed up to oppose the idea while there were 14 signers on the proponents’ side.
While we are all for the “green” movement and alternative forms of energy, we agree with opponents who are worried about what 40-story high windmills will do the aesthetics of Garrett County. As was pointed out at the hearing, structures of that height easily dwarf anything else in Garrett County, including the seven Wisp ski resort.
An idea of how widespread the concern is can be seen in the diversity of the groups opposing the windmills.
Among those who have taken a position of opposition are the Allegany-Garrett Sportsmen’s Association; Sierra Club of Western Maryland; Garrett County Chamber of Commerce; Garrett County Board of Realtors; Garrett County Forestry Board – Citizens Advisory Group; Deep Creek Lake Property Owners Association; Allegheny Highlands conservancy; Friends of New Germany; Friends of Backbone Mountain; Sky Valley Property Owners Association; Garrett County Democratic Central Committee; Citizens’ Rights and Heritage Group; Savage River Watershed Association, and Yough River Watershed Association.
Before the project can go forward, the Department of Natural Resources has to adopt a policy on whether to allow turbines on state lands.
The state’s forests in Garrett County are among the most beautiful and pristine sites in Maryland. Marring them with skyscraper wind turbines would seriously mar that beauty.
2 February 2008
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