I’m writing in response to a reader commentary “We could use wind farm money” by Rick Lashbaugh (“We could use wind farm money,” May 17 Times-News).
Everyone who tries to persuade the public a wind farm on Dan’s Mountain would be “great” for the county cites money for some cause – schools and children this time, before it was money for our firemen and police. What’s next?
Any property tax money from the wind farm would not be “extra” to the budget. Why? Well any home residing within two miles of the wind farm would lose from 20 to 60 percent of the home’s value – depending on how close the residence sits to a wind turbine.
Why a two-mile radius? Because of the health problems of people forced to live too close to wind turbines. What about the visual appeal of a five-story tall wind turbine a thousand feet from your home – to say nothing of the bird and bat deaths which exist around every wind turbine erected to date?
Talk to the residents around those wind farms in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Garrett County. Or look into the lawsuits filed against the builders. Then ask those residents about the “jobs” that were created. Reality does not equal advertising.
The Dan’s Mountain wind farm project doesn’t fit on the property at the top of Dan’s Mountain – not unless Allegany County ignores Code 360-92 which states a wind turbine cannot be built closer than 2000 feet from a residence.
Before anyone thinks this code is unreasonable, experts (doctors and scientists) recommend setbacks of 4,921 feet (1.5 km), and 7,920 feet (1.5 miles). That means the Allegany County setback requirement is about 40 to 75 percent less than expert recommendations.
There were 26 variances filed with the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals, totaling 16,747 feet. The owners of those properties, it was discovered during hearings, are being paid by Dan’s Mountain to lease their land. To say the Allegany County zoning appeals board should have ignored this huge number of variances is ludicrous.
Exelon Energy is NOT the company building the wind farm. They have a purchase contract with Dan’s Mountain to buy the non-existent wind farm. Dan’s Mountain has filed with the Maryland Public Service Commission to have the PSC throw out Code 360-92 and over-rule our local government. DMWF has also filed a suit against Allegany County with the Circuit Court.
According to Financial Times in September 2015, the U.S. is experiencing the weakest winds in 40 years. According to the U.S. Wind Resource Map, Allegany County is in the range of 4 on the scale. It would need to be a 6.5 to be viable for development.
This is not about green energy. This is about money – but it is NOT about money for Allegany County. It is about the government subsidies and tax credits – millions of dollars worth of tax payer money – available to companies that erect wind farms or solar farms – with no regard for the community or its residents, our local government, our codes, or our laws. Those codes and laws exist to protect all the citizens of Allegany County. They should not be ignored or tossed away.
There is no such thing as “free money.” If you believe these corporations want to erect this wind farm for Allegany County’s benefit, you are seriously mistaken. No corporation does anything unless it means millions in profits for themselves. Never doubt that fact.
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