Zoning/Planning or Kansas
Gov. Martin O'Malley is to announce his administration's long-awaited decision on Saturday in western Maryland about whether to allow wind farms in state forests.
State officials won't say what the decision is in this long-running debate, which has divided environmentalists and drawn overflow crowds to public meetings in western Maryland and in Annapolis. ...Some think he may announce a "split decision," saying that wind turbines may be permitted on state lands but only if they pass strict environmental review. The head of the Maryland Energy Administration, Malcolm Woolf, will be with O'Malley for the announcement, according to an invitation e-mailed to one person by Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin. That makes some think O'Malley's likely to give a nudge of some sort to wind power ...But others take heart from O'Malley's choice of locations for his announcement ...
As someone who fought against the erection of three 95 metre high turbines at Loscar Farm, I must say that I am at a loss with the decision of the Rotherham Planning Committee to sanction the go-ahead. ...At the final planning meeting, one councillor declared that they knew all about global warming because they lived at Catcliffe and had suffered as a result of recent floods! Does that qualify them as an expert on the subject?
Belief that the turbines will halt global warming is naive. They are built for the purpose of obtaining Government subsidies paid to developers.
To zone four more plots of land for this use without first seeing a wind turbine in production in Chatham-Kent is a gross error, in my humble opinion.
An area close to Wheatley has already been zoned for wind energy.
Based on my technical background, I think it is of vital importance to first see this up and running over a period of time before we move forward with these new proposals. ...Only by pressing pause on the present proposal can you find out what is best for your customers - the citizens of Chatham-Kent.
Should the turbines be 500 meters or 750 meters from the nearest house based on their noise levels?
Should they be one kilometre from shorelines like Essex County is discussing?
The general public and public agencies have apparently missed an important story regarding Travis AFB that has occurred over the last year. In an extraordinary show of concern, base officials have issued four letters objecting to the continued addition of wind turbines to the Montezuma Hills wind resource area.
Air Force officials almost never make public statements about local land use issues, so these letters are highly unusual and show urgent concern.
However, these concerns have fallen on deaf ears with Solano County leadership. ...Simply put, the wind company went over the head of the local commander and went to higher levels to secure a deal. In return for $1 million to study how to mitigate the problem, and stating that 75 new turbines would not increase the damage that the 750 existing turbines have already done, higher HQ then directed Travis to withdraw objections.
As you now know from my last report, it appears likely that a final decision on Hamlin’s much debated wind turbine regulation law will come later this month. For nearly two years this clash of neighbors, farmers, and town leaders, has swirled about this Lake Ontario community. ...While it’s not addressed much in public, I’ve been told by some that an overly restrictive wind turbine law could open up the board to a lawsuit from farmers and landowners who feel their right to do what they want with their own land is being prohibited.
At the same time, a large number of concerned neighbors could consider legal action if they feel this local law doesn’t take into account their concerns about property values and quality of life.
Most sources of energy are beyond the pale in the Democratic Party, but nothing carries quite the moral stigma of coal. The latest excommunication is under way in Kansas, of all places, and it may be a forerunner of national political trends.
Governor Kathleen Sebelius calls it "a moral obligation," as though she were opposing crimes against humanity. This is a reference to coal companies guilty of nothing more than attempting to provide power to consumers. But their misfortunes include emitting carbon dioxide into the current political atmosphere, and also the presence of Ms. Sebelius, who recently invented another way of enacting her preferred global-warming policies without legislation. ...Coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity because it is cheap and abundant - and viable. Wind turbines and the rest of the boutique alternatives are none of those, a reality that Democrats are going to have to square when they actually bother to pass a climate-change bill.
I respectfully disagree with Councilor George's conclusions regarding the Emerson Avenue wind turbine project and the Gloucester Zoning Ordinance criteria. First, Section 5.22.3(c) clearly states that the location must minimize "adverse visual" impacts. The City Council certainly had visual impacts in mind, or they would not have approved including the word "visual."
Additionally, the applicant has not met all the criteria, because they are unable to meet the setback requirements. They are seeking an exception to the current law. If they truly met all the criteria, a waiver would not be necessary.
In his March 27 letter to this paper, Paul Mason chastises Cape Vincent anti-wind residents and taxpayers as rumor-mongers and blames them for the divide in the community. He essentially says we are uninformed. That is a generalized argument all its own. But he is correct on one score.
There is one thing, I must admit, we do not know for sure and I can't get an answer to at the St. Lawrence Wind Farm office. Perhaps he'd like to help us all out and give us the answer. Of all the members of the Planning Board, and/or any other board for that matter, how many members stand to profit from the wind farm? How much? Their families? How about state Sen. Darrel Aubertine?
I read the letter from by Paul C. Mason, Cape Vincent, "Uninformed Cape wind foes spread rumors." I may not have visited the office of the St. Lawrence Wind Farm, but I have attended their informational meetings and presentation of their Draft Environmental Impact Statement to the Cape Vincent Planning Board (which was incomplete) as well as the meetings held by BP and the presentation of their DEIS, which was also incomplete. ...When townspeople started to question how many, how big and where they were going to be placed, that is when everything got ugly. So now we are a town divided. Whose fault is that? Maybe it was the way it was done when they sneak behind closed doors. Maybe because it is a subject that divides families and friends. You cannot blame anyone who asks questions of these companies, after all the people who signed away the rights to their land for 20 to 30 years have lost their rights to question anything or anyone. So that leaves me. I still have all of my rights, and I intend to use them.
As for a suggested inconsistency by our locally elected permitting authority, Mr. Killian might care to read the public record on the Vantage Wind Project and see that any resident who may have had a concern about setbacks was satisfied with the project as designed. Our commissioners have been very consistent throughout the last six years of wind project permitting process. If concerns and/or objections were raised by the public, mitigations were explored - publicly. To date, the commissioners' only "hard" setback requirement was what is considered the "safety setback" that is determined by the turbine manufacturer. In the Kittitas Valley Wind Power project and the Desert Claim Wind Power Project, the overwhelming response by residents that would be affected was that they wanted greater setbacks due to impacts documented in the record. And in fact, most residents wanted 1 mile setbacks like most of Europe specifies; but the commissioners only suggested 2,500 feet. And even then, the commissioners stated that exceptions would be entertained.
The recent Planning Board vote against recommending a citizens petition (Article 29) permitting the erection of wind turbines in Harvard was a correct decision. It was clear that the board was not against wind turbines, but that any bylaw be developed with consideration to existing bylaws, abutters rights, impact on the town and strike a balance between a property owner's rights and all other parties. The Planning Board is in the best position to accomplish this after thorough research, input from the entire community and consistency with our current bylaws.
I'd like to recommend some light reading for long winter nights to residents of Randolph and Barbour counties, especially those folks along Harrison Avenue on the west side of Elkins. Download the AES Laurel Mountain Wind Project application from the Public Service Commission and pick a chapter. You might have to wait for this 1,381-page document. And the PSC has made it nearly impossible to download its three 10.4, 67.3 and 110MB-sized volumes on a dial-up connection, which the majority of effected residents have. The chapter I read last evening deals with shadow flicker ...I recommend that private landowners along the eight-mile route of the proposed project go the PSC Web site and do a little reading. They also might want to let the PSC know their feelings.
Tonight I'm going to tackle the chapter on bats.
We are not quibbling about the right of a person "to make a little money on his ridge top if he chooses to." We have serious concerns that the installation of 450-foot wind turbines along the scenic ridges of Garrett County will disrupt our economy and ecology in an irreversible manner.
We need for our commissioners to take a stand and protect our county from the wind industry.
It's rare indeed when inaction on a bill by the Legislature turns out to be a good thing. But by not putting on the fast track a measure dealing with siting of wind energy farms, lawmakers will have the chance to make the bill better.
Proposals to give the state Public Service Commission the authority to write rules on wind farm siting, including allowable noise levels and setback from residential development, were introduced in late February and received minimal scrutiny and little public comment. In the end end, the state Senate wisely voted to send the proposal back to committee, thus ending the possibility of action on it in this session.
Once again, the PSC hearing officer and staff, along with about 100 citizens did not have a clue as to what the county’s position is on placing these wind turbines on county public land near the towns of Mt. Lake Park and Loch Lynn Heights. Citizens raised concerns about water quality and supply issues due to blasting, public safety and health issues, and environmental degradation.
A reasonable person must wonder why their elected officials hide under their desks and are unable to do what they were elected to do — represent the people. Serious questions from citizens remain unanswered.
By giving organized Maine expedited status for wind developments, the state's task force has invited developers to consider these areas for projects. It's an incentive, plain and simple, to know where planning reviews will have priority, and where they will not.
Reaction in Byron indicates towns and cities won't take to this designation, even if they think alternative energies are necessary. The belief somewhere else, or some other energy technology, is more appropriate is just too strong.
It was in Byron, and if a reputed repeal effort in Roxbury gains strength, there, too. And these are emblematic of the towns wind companies should target - rural, mountainous and with low populations, and therefore low impact.
But it's a choice to accept wind power, as communities and commissions have myriad reasons to reject proposals.
We need to adopt a new way of thinking for the prairie land that sustains us. Our prairie isn't a waste dump to place a huge, monetarily motivated, (supposedly) economically stimulating thing that defaces it of its natural beauty and hampers the land's usefulness. ...Might I appeal to all fellow prairie landowners to look about this endless simple beauty and say, "You can't pay me enough!" when approached to lease for a commercial wind farm.
Even if Virginia-based AES or Oregon-based PPM Energy secures enough land to make the project feasible, the project could take years to complete - if ever. But there's no doubt wind power is increasingly practical - and that officials would like Allen County to jump on the bandwagon.
"Hopefully the people out there will accept it," said Commissioner Bill Brown. "This could provide $1 million of income (for landowners) every year, increase assessed value and help the community. Wind farms also tend to generate plenty in property taxes, Burdick said.
The question is: Will Coomer and other landowners conclude the benefits outweigh the drawbacks? And even if they do, would such a huge and potentially controversial project be approved by government regulators?
At a recent public meeting, someone said I was opposed to electricity produced by coal, nuclear, and hydro-as well as wind. Moreover, I was reminded that I was off the mark by saying wind technology could not prevent new conventional power plants from being built to meet increasing demand, pointing to a recent Parade magazine article reporting the governor of Kansas was building a 1000MW wind facility, obviating the need for a new coal plant. Here's reality. ...
Since Criterion's filing with the PSC on Jan. 23, there have been at least three different versions of the application circulated by the PSC for public review. ...No document has ever been posted by the PSC showing the location of Criterion's 28 industrial wind turbines. The PSC's own instructions for these applications state, "Every effort will be made to process and approve your application expeditiously. The Commission will not, however, consider incomplete applications. The single largest cause of delay in processing applications is due to incompleteness". For some reason, the PSC is ignoring its own requirements and processing an application that any reasonable person would find incomplete.