The Garrett County Democratic Central Committee has requested Senator George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel to introduce local emergency legislation in the current General Assembly to prevent inappropriate use of state forests.
Letters sent February 3 and February 6 specifically requested each to introduce the legislation before February 7 to prohibit development, construction, or placement of wind turbines in state forests or parks in Garrett County. Bills introduced by February 7 are guaranteed a hearing in the General Assembly.
“In public hearings at Garrett College and in Annapolis, some 700 people attended to overwhelmingly express disapproval of using state forestland for industrial wind turbines,” said James R. “Smokey” Stanton, chairman of the GCDCC. “Both of you (Edwards and Beitzel) attended these hearings and both of you have stated your opposition to wind turbines in state forests.
“The information, data, and comments provided by farmers, lumbermen, foresters, environmentalists, businesses, realtors, property owners, and interested citizens clearly established the inappropriateness of this use in state forests and state lands. It is imperative that you use your legislative power to permanently block this type of exploitation in order to protect both our state forest land and our lo-cal economy and tourist in-dustry.”
Stanton said that by introducing local emergency legislation, two objectives can be achieved. “First, you will be extended the courtesy of hearings in both the Senate and the House,” he said. “Second, by making the bills emergency, the effective date of the legislation will be July 1, 2008, instead of October 1, 2008. With the General Assembly ending in April, the Department of Natural Resources will know the legislative intent of preserving our state forests.”
The letters further stated:”By introducing bills in both the Senate and the House, the excellent information that has been gathered and presented by people testifying at the DNR hearings can be made available to all members of the legislature, and future decisions can be based on facts rather than distortions and exaggerations concerning Maryland State Forests and Parks.”
The committee noted that the Western Maryland Delegation recently withdrew its October 2007 letter to Governor O’Malley supporting US Wind Force’s proposal, and the Garrett County commissioners unanimously voted Tuesday to oppose the proposal to allow state forestland in Garrett County to be used for wind farms.
7 February 2008
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