General and Maryland
Industrial-scale wind farms have altered the rural landscape in places where the natural environment and quiet living are high priorities. Some local residents and conservationists say wind turbines are an assault on both.
The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea.
Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive.
Regulations for small wind energy systems in Somerset County could get a bit of tweaking before adoption by Somerset County Commissioners, who questioned setbacks and other provisions during a public hearing.
In particular, commissioners asked why there was a 20-foot setback requirement for wind turbines from a driveway on the same property.
Saying he is not interested in a repeat of a "sales pitch," Mineral County President Wayne Spiggle is spelling out four specific issues which he wants representatives of U.S. Wind Force to answer when they meet with the commissioners on June 23.
The Mineral County Commissioners are hoping to have some questions answered this evening, as they meet with representatives of U.S. Wind Force.
The meeting with Wind Force, the company proposing to construct the Pinnacle Wind Farm on Green Mountain above Keyser, was the topic of discussion at the commission's June 9 meeting, when Commission President Wayne Spiggle said he wanted to meet with the group but was not interested in a "sales pitch."
The public is invited to attend an informative meeting about the possibilities of wind and solar energy in Western Maryland during a Renewable Energy Focus Group meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 18 in the FSU Compton Science Building, room 226.
New Dimension Energy Company LLC, a subsidiary of FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation, recently filed an application for a meteorological tower permit in Garrett County. The company hopes to build nine wind turbines ...Two of the wind turbines were denied Federal Aviation Administration approval for determination of no hazard to air navigation.
The project is still on track to meet its goal of entering commercial operation by the end of the year, he said.
But opposition to the project could also be gaining steam. In a June 23 letter, the Garrett-based group Save Western Maryland and the Maryland Conservation Council provided formal notice to Constellation, county government officials and related state and federal agencies that they plan to sue unless Constellation seeks an incidental take permit.
Work could begin as early as fall on a controversial, 23-turbine wind farm in Mineral County.
Despite that, environmentalists opposed to the project say their fight continues. ...Frank O'Hara, a spokesman for Allegheny Front Alliance, said many West Virginians are just now learning about the wind farm project -- and aren't eager to see it take shape.
As the Baltimore County Council prepares to consider new regulations for wind turbines in residential neighborhoods, at least one member is strongly opposed to the idea.
The Planning Board voted unanimously recently to recommend allowing one wind turbine no taller than 60 feet per one-acre property. ...Council member T. Bryan McIntire said he had not reviewed the proposal, but he stood "adamantly opposed to the use of windmills in the north county."
Finally face-to-face, the Mineral County Commissioners questioned representatives of U.S. Wind Force Tuesday evening, sticking to the topics that would directly affect the county and its residents.
At the top of the question list was the subject of taxes, and how much the company expects to pay into the county once the 23 wind turbines are in place on Green Mountain.
While the county enacted an ordinance regulating smaller residential turbines last year, the Planning Commission just started considering commercial operations last week, said Gary Pusey, the county's planning director.
Somerset County Commissioners plan to make revisions to a controversial industrial wind energy ordinance, including increasing the setback from neighboring residential properties.
The commissioners also will meet with Steve Smethurst, the attorney for a group of Marion Station opponents, during a work session this week.
A Baltimore judge has affirmed a state Public Service Commission ruling favoring a proposed wind power project in Garrett County. ...Project opponent D. Daniel Boone had filed for judicial review of the decision. He claimed the change violated a settlement agreement the PSC accepted when it approved the project in 2003.
The $4.8 million is enough to cover the cost of construction, plus the Delmarva Power study because the project has been scaled down after officials at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in St. Mary's County expressed concerns that turbines will interfere with radar systems.
The possibility of 200 construction jobs didn't sway critics of a planned commercial wind turbine project atop Dan's Mountain.
Neither did an estimated $5.4 million in new property tax revenue over the next decade. Nor did an appeal to clean, green energy.
Instead, the 14 area residents who spoke in favor of legislation that would place steep limitations on industrial wind energy projects here said the project simply wasn't a good fit for Allegany County.
James Stanton, chairman of the Garrett County Democratic Central Committee, said that the construction of 100 "monster" turbines, each taller than the tallest building in Baltimore, is not an appropriate use of state green space.
"As a matter of good public policy, state forests should not be used for this purpose," Stanton said. "The proposed large turbines and propellers, 40 stories tall...(would be) the reverse of the 'leave no trace' philosophy embraced by the Department of Natural Resources."
"It's the very character of the mountains...and the state forests that define who we are," said state Del. Wendell Beitzel, a Republican from Garrett County whose ancestors grew up the rural area. "I beseech you to relay to the governor and other people that we don't want wind turbines on our land in Western Maryland."
Charlie Ross, head of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, said: "Please reject this proposal."
"What calculus of economic benefits can possibly justify destroying our public land forever?" asked John N. Bambacus, a former state senator from Western Maryland who has been active in rallying Garrett County business and political leaders against the leasing of state forests.