November 2, 2014

Defense Department logs in against wind turbine project

By Dick Myers | 10/30/2014 |

Washington, DC – The long-anticipated response from the Department of Defense on the proposed Eastern Shore wind turbine project was released Thursday and it is so strongly negative against it that it could very well deep six it.

The letter from the Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says of the proposed Great Bay Energy Center wind turbine project in Somerset County, even if mitigated: “(It) would constitute an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States as defined in 32 C.F.R. § 211.3 because it would significantly impair or degrade the capability of the Department of Defense to conduct testing, evaluation and operations or to maintain military readiness. This project, if not mitigated, would impact the critical research, development, test and evaluation of the Department’s advanced airborne weapons systems and would ultimately place our armed forces at great risk when they are in harm’s way.”

What Foxx wrote is what many people in Southern Maryland have been saying since the turbine project was proposed. The intensity of the concern was ratcheted up when Gov. Martin O’Malley vetoed a bill by the Southern Maryland Delegation that would have imposed a temporary moratorium on the project until completion of studies about its potential harm to Pax River’s operations.

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5), who has been a strong supporter of halting the project and who was critical of the governor’s veto, released the following statement today following the release of a Department of Defense letter objecting to the proposed Great Bay Wind project.

“Today the Department of Defense objected to the proposed Great Bay Wind project on the grounds that it poses a significant threat to the mission and world-class stealth radar system at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. This is a critical development in our efforts to protect Pax River and the 22,000 jobs it supports.

“I am a strong supporter of renewable energy, and the MIT study currently underway to look at whether technologies are able to mitigate the impact of the wind turbines sited near Pax River will continue. However, until that taxpayer-funded study is complete, we must be vigilant in protecting Pax River’s mission.

“Delegate John Bohanan and I were confident that once the project was fully reviewed by the Department of Defense, after consultation with various service branches that utilize Pax River, this would be the outcome. It was the right decision, and I applaud the Department of Defense leadership for recognizing the threat this project poses to a critical national security asset. I join in thanking Delegate Bohanan for his leadership on this effort – this outcome would not have been possible without his commitment to Pax River and the uniformed and civilian personnel who serve there. I also want to thank Senator Mikulski, Senator Cardin, and members of the Maryland delegation for their support of this effort.

“I’ve been proud to represent Pax River for over two decades and fight to support its mission and the men and women who work diligently to keep our nation safe. I will continue to strongly advocate for them and as they continue to bolster our national security.”

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