Garrett County’s mountain ridges are under assault by the wind turbine industry the likes of which put the gypsy moth infestation to shame. Garrett County is currently embroiled in a struggle where county commissioners are put to the test as to their role in meeting competing interests, protecting the county’s resources, and being proactive in representing the views and concerns of their constituency.
Evidence has recently been presented which suggests that, to some extent, the commissioners have not been fully forthcoming in the matter of a lease agreement the county has with Clipper LLC, a wind generator company, and the recent extension of that lease agreement to 2010.
At the Public Service Commission hearing held March 6, of the 100 or more attendees, the greatest majority by far criticized the commissioners for not representing them or the county’s best interests, and went as far as accusing them of selling out to the wind industry. The cry to the PSC by many was for protection not afforded by our own local government.
The greatest demand for electricity is at the other end of the state. The greatest source for alternative energy in the form of wind is also at the other end of the state. As demonstrated at public hearings, the great majority of Garrett County residents reject wind generation towers on public lands, and as residents learn more they are objecting to private land sites as well.
The arguments presented against wind generation in Garrett County are many and convincing. Why aren’t these arguments persuasive with the commissioners and state government? Could it be that Governor O’Malley would find it politically unacceptable to put wind towers on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay or off the Maryland coast?
So I ask, how does the individual citizen fight these powerful forces, and more importantly, why must we be in this fight? Shouldn’t local government officials represent their constituency and protect our natural resources and the safety and health of the people?
Local government is local because it best knows and understands the concerns of citizens. Local elected officials are in the best position to represent the preponderance of views of their constituency. I implore our local officials to protect our resources, be proactive in fighting those forces threatening our resources, and be forthcoming in their views and positions that relate to these issues.
Eastern Garrett County
13 March 2008
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