CUMBERLAND – The Times—News and at least three members of the public were excluded from a Wednesday meeting of a stakeholder advisory group on a proposed 19-turbine wind project on Dan’s Mountain. The meeting was held at the Ramada Inn in Cumberland.
“I’m disappointed. I was under the impression it was a public meeting,” said Kevin Smith of Frostburg, who had hoped to attend the meeting. “I was just coming to be a listener today and gain some basic information,” said Smith.
Frank O’Hara was also excluded from the meeting.
“It’s about accountability and transparency,” O’Hara, a Mineral County, W.Va., resident, said. O’Hara said he considered himself a stakeholder since he visits, shops in and spends a great deal of time in the county. “I can see Allegany County from my home,” O’Hara said.
K. Darlene Park, also excluded from the meeting, said she’s already dealt with the consequences of having wind turbines nearby.
“We are the true stakeholders because we are the ones who will have to live under these ungodly 500 feet tall monsters. Our home is on Harwood Drive and our AM radio stations in our home and vehicles already have interference from the Four(mile Ridge) Winds Turbine Project that went on line just before Christmas in Garrett County,” Park wrote in an email to the Times—News. “This is a very serious matter for all residents in Allegany and surrounding counties when it come to emergency responders of any type,” Park said.
The project is being proposed by Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC, and a company official said the meeting was private and limited only to those invited to the meeting, including landowners in the area.
Wednesday’s meeting was set to discuss results of an Electromagnetic Interference Analysis on the project. The analysis is required by the Allegany County Code.
“The Dan’s Mountain Wind Project is holding a meeting with stakeholders who own and/or operate radio transmission equipment in the vicinity of the project. This is not a public meeting,” wrote David Friend, managing partner with Laurel Renewable Partners LLC. Friend issued an emailed statement to the Times—News after the media was excluded from the meeting.
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