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End-around: Company wants state approval for wind farm  

Credit:  Cumberland Times-News | February 24, 2016 | www.times-news.com ~~

Think back for a moment to when you were just a youngster.

There was something you wanted, a toy or maybe just permission to go down the street and play with your little friends, so you asked your dad. He said “No.”

Undeterred, you went directly to Mom and asked her the same question.

She probably said “No” as well, because it’s likely that she and Dad were pretty much on the same page, where you were concerned.

However, if her answer was “Yes,” that might lead to Mom and Dad putting their heads together and figuring out that you had done an end-around them. That, as Jimmy Hatlo used to say, is When The Fun Began.

Getting a “No” from one parent, and then running to the other parent in hopes of getting a “Yes” is precisely what Dans Mountain Wind Force LLC has done in the case of the wind turbine farm it wants to build on Dan’s Mountain.

Allegany County’s government already has said “No.”

Now, the company is asking the Maryland government for a “Yes,” and it may succeed. Unlike parents, who if they are good parents have learned to work together, different levels of government frequently are at odds.

Last December after a series of hearings, the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals denied Dans Mountain’s application for variances and a special exemption for the wind project. With apologies to Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi,” that means “No wind farm for you.”

Dans Mountain now has filed an application for a Certificate of Public and Convenience and Necessity with the state Public Service Commission. If approved, this would allow construction of a 17-turbine wind farm that some of our citizens have said they don’t want coming to their neighborhood.

The certificate “would pre-empt local Allegany County land use ordinances, which would otherwise prohibit not only this project, but any similar renewable wind energy project proposed in Allegany County” (“Company again seeking approval for Dan’s Mountain Wind Farm project,” Feb. 23 Times-News, Page 1A).

We interpret this to mean “Please set aside the local ordinances and allow us to do what we want, and the same would go for anybody else who comes along.” The company reportedly has spent $5 million so far on what is estimated to be a $10 million project.

Dans Mountain says the wind farm “will have minimal environmental impact, provide economic benefits to the state and will have an important, positive impact on the stability and reliability of the electrical system.”

To say that that the project has drawn prolonged opposition would be about like saying the three-foot snowfall we experienced a few weeks ago caused some inconvenience.

At a hearing in October, citizens came to discuss “adverse health effects, noise, shadow flicker and ice throw from wind turbines … (and) sleep deprivation” they said are caused by wind turbines (“Wind project opponents purport that turbines cause health problems,”Oct. 30, 2015 Times-News, Page 1A). Wind turbines also are purported to have deleterious effects upon birds, bats, insects and other wildlife.

Proponents of wind power make good points. They say the turbines provide clean, renewable energy and can be of great economic benefits to the counties where they are located.

A CNHI report filed last month in Oklahoma said wind energy companies have paid nearly $134 million in taxes to that state’s counties since 2004, much of it going to schools and rural counties. It should be added that various sources indicate the federal government spends about $12 billion a year subsidizing wind energy.

Like solar energy installations, wind farms are good things in certain places. Oklahoma and other states have plenty of wide-open spaces where wind and sun are never in short supply. Our area, on the other hand, has an abundance of calm and cloudy days.

We have not taken an editorial position on wind farms, but have covered the hearings and given both proponents and opponents a forum for expressing their opinions.

However, we do not appreciate the fact that Dans Mountain Wind Force LLC has basically told Allegany County its ordinances should be declared null and void, and that the opinions and possibly the well-being of its citizens are meaningless and should be ignored.

We urge the Public Service Commission to reject the Dans Mountain application.

Source:  Cumberland Times-News | February 24, 2016 | www.times-news.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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