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Don’t despoil Dan’s Mountain

I grew up in Baltimore County. While in college there I made friends with students who lived in various parts of Appalachia.

My visits to them during semester breaks and summers would take me through Western Maryland. I fell in love with the natural beauty of this area and the lifestyle here. When I was able, I purchased land in Allegany County, built a home and was blessed to find a wonderful wife. I have now resided here for 25 years.

I live far from Dan’s Mountain but see it most every day. One of my favorite views of it is the one provided by driving west on Baltimore Avenue down into Cumberland. Another lovely view is the one seen while driving from Corriganville toward the Narrows on Mount Savage Road.

But of course, Dan’s Mountain can be seen in its majesty from thousands of perspectives all over the county. It is a beautiful feature of our home.

The natural beauty hereabouts was enjoyed by those who came before us, and is an essential aspect of our unique way of feeling at home in the world. It seems to me that it is our responsibility to preserve it as an inheritance for those who will come after us. The beauty of Dan’s Mountain will be profoundly marred if a row of wind turbines is allowed to dominate its crest.

I reject the euphemism of “wind farm,” for in reality a group of wind turbines is nothing like an actual farm. Rather, it constitutes a power plant.

I, like Kenny Braitman, live within sight of the Twin Ridges wind turbines just over the border in Pennsylvania. (See: “Wind farm inadvisable, and there are better alternatives,” Feb. 25 Times-News.)

We know the truth about how such machines intrude upon and despoil our natural setting. I testified at the hearing at Allegany College of Maryland several years ago about how my property assessment decreased in value after the turbines were constructed, how neighbors subsequently had trouble selling property, the roaring noise that at times sounds like I am next to a runway at a commercial airport (even though the nearest turbine is over a mile away), and the horrifying effects on animals and pets, including our adopted dog – which literally lost its mind.

The main justification for and seductiveness of the proposed turbine project is money. Say, how much would you sell your children for? The question is absurd and distressing, because children are sacred, and sacred things cannot rightly be valued at a price.

For those who can see, the beauty of Dan’s Mountain is sacred. While sadly much of our heritage of human-made beauty in this area is in decay, it remains within our power to preserve the inherited natural beauty that enriches all our lives. We need power plants, but not on our sublime mountain ridges.

Paul McCusker

Mount Savage