MCHENRY – As of 5 p.m. Monday, the public comment period for the controversial issue of putting wind turbines on state forest land ended.
“At this point,” Olivia Campbell, media relations manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources said, “it’s ended and we’re going to start reviewing the comments. I would expect a decision shortly. It’s not going to be delayed, drawn out.”
Campbell said that when it comes to the question of whether the turbines should be placed on state forest land, the comments were nearly 80 percent opposed to the idea. She said those comments came from across the state and there were hundreds of comments made between the online comment area and the two public hearings at Garrett College and in Annapolis at the end of January.
Frank Maisano, a spokesman for wind developers, said he feels there is still a silent majority of Garrett County residents in favor of wind power.
Maisano said that the land has already been used for industrial purposes as the areas of state forest in question have been logged.
The current use of the land, as well as the possible use for wind power, has become an issue of debate since U.S. Windforce first proposed wind power projects atop state forest land on Meadow and Backbone mountains.
DNR had no plan in place for such a proposal, and in response, the department scheduled the recent public comment period to help determine what DNR policy would be on wind turbines on state forest land.
Maisano said that even if Garrett County one day has wind turbines on state land, there would not be many, as there are not enough ridge tops with sufficient wind strength to justify the turbines.
Campbell said that the online comments can be viewed at www.dnr.md.gov by searching the site for “wind.”
By Sarah Moses
4 March 2008
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