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Residents voice support, opposition for proposed wind power project

CUMBERLAND – Allegany County residents spoke both for and against a 17-turbine wind farm proposed on 2,800 acres on Dan’s Mountain Wednesday during a Maryland Public Service Commission hearing at Allegany College of Maryland.

Opponents and proponents took turns speaking before Terry Romine, chief public utility law judge.

Cliff Wendrick, who was there to represent ironworkers, spoke in favor of the project because of the jobs it would create.

“I think all the protections are in place to make sure that it is done safely. I have yet to hear any credible argument as to whether or not the values go down for houses and also the health effects,” said Wendrick, who owns land at the base of the mountain. “I have yet to hear or read anything that is credible.”

Some of those who were against the project cited health concerns.

“I am concerned about the detrimental health effects to the residents and the wildlife in the area,” said Sue Dudley, who resides in the Bel-Air subdivision. “The noise pollution will disrupt sleep, cause headaches, cause ear pressure problems, dizziness and lead to major health problems like hypertension, heart disease and depression.”

In December, the Allegany County Board of Zoning appeals denied an application for variances and a special exception for the wind power venture.

“They are changing it (project) all the time, confident the political environment will get this through, when they could not meet Allegany laws and codes – I find that reprehensible and I hope that Maryland PSC upholds Allegany County’s right to self govern,” said Dana Hites, who is opposed to the project.

Bill Dudley, who is against the project, echoed Hites’ sentiments.

“Allegany County has laws in place to protect us residents from projects such as this. Exceptions should not be granted, which would threaten the health, safety and welfare of the residents …,” said Dudley. “The existing laws, which prohibit the establishment of this project, should be upheld and hopefully, a ruling will be made that will prohibit the project.”

Ronald Brown, who lives in the proposed area, is for the project because Dans Mountain Windforce LLC agreed to blacktop and maintain a road there.

“Maintaining a blacktop road is a huge benefit for us,” said Brown. “I understand the opposition but I am in support of it.”

Dans has filed for a certificate of public convenience and necessity with the PSC.