Crisfield, MD – The controversial Somerset County wind turbine project is dead. The company proposing the Great Bay Wind Energy Center project says language inserted in a bill by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski [D-MD] has made it impossible to proceed with it. They have withdrawn a request for permits in a letter dated March 20 to the Somerset County Commissioners, the county on the Eastern Shore in which the project was to be located.
Adam Cohen, vice president of Pioneer Green Energy, said in the letter that Mikulski’s efforts “placed the entire Great Bay Wind investment and business into a state of uncertainty. After careful review and discussion with stakeholders, it is apparent that we are no longer able to proceed with our investment in the near term. We are forced to thus place the project in indefinite suspension and as such we will no longer be requesting a permit for construction of the Great Bay Wind project in Somerset County at the current time or in the foreseeable future.”
The project has been especially controversial in St. Mary’s County, with concerns from the Navy about the impact of the wind turbines on testing at Patuxent River Naval Air Station and particularly effects on radar for the Atlantic Test Range.
Sen. Mikulski in July of last year added language into the defense appropriations bills that prevented the Navy from finalizing an agreement with Pioneer Green until a study of the effects of the wind turbines was completed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mikulski at the time was chairperson of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She recently announced her intent not to seek re-election.
Meanwhile Sen. Steve Waugh [R; 29th District] has introduced a bill (SB 899] that would prohibit the Maryland Public Service Commission from approving any wind turbines if it was determined they had an adverse impact on existing state, federal or military infrastructure including ranges. A hearing on that bill is scheduled for Thursday. March 26th.
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