Zoning/Planning and Maryland
After being immersed in the windmill debate via our newspaper for more than a year - and openly looking at the issue from both sides - I personally do not support the project. But it's not my call to make - it is a decision that should be decided by the residents of Tazewell County.
At the public hearing on the project, 71 individuals spoke in favor of the ridgeline ordinance, while 18 spoke against it. That's an overwhelming anti-windmill majority.
Having been an intervenor in the original Synergics hearing before the Public Service Commission (PSC) several years ago, I am deeply troubled that this issue is back before us again. ...Thanks to the work of Wayne Rogers, Cas Taylor, and Senate President Mike Miller, the PSC was all but written out of the permitting process. So now the PSC is holding yet another meaningless hearing on a resubmitted Synergics wind proposal.
US Wind Force has been planning this development since at least as early as 2004. Why is it that when a developer starts planning, the county cannot make any changes to local zoning regulations for fear of lawsuit? ...The county commission has the right (and the duty) to make changes to ordinances, when necessary, to protect the well-being of the citizens of Allegany County, regardless of who is planning what project.
Once again, you have made a farce out of the democratic process by remaining silent and secretive over the past seven years while avoiding a reasonable moratorium or making any comment on this matter until the last several weeks.
Some serious realism and a sense of public purpose is needed, and not the arrogant and incompetent actions that seem to permeate this administration.
As taxpayers of Allegany County, Maryland and residents of Harwood Subdivision located adjacent to the proposed Dan's Mountain Wind Project, we are in favor of zoning regulations for industrial wind farms and support Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-09.
The proposed regulations will play a vital role in providing protection to property owners that presently does not exist.
After listening to all the comments presented and after reading articles and editorials on the internet, I have come to the conclusion that this process is moving way too fast. ...Please deny this request and force Dan's Mountain Windforce LLC to full, open hearings on the merits of its proposal. If their proposal is viable and safe, then it will withstand "... the interests of the people" and their full inspection of it.
It took legislators decades to establish agencies and laws to protect the environment, and Gov. O'Malley one legislative session to strip Allegany and Garrett counties of these protections.
The 2008 Fast-Track legislation denies review and restrictions for wind turbine development by the Department of Environment, Maryland Department of Planning, the Maryland Energy Administration and the Department of Natural Resources, and of obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Public Service Commission (PSC). All other counties in Maryland have these agencies protecting them.
What do you plan to do with the commissioners' request for [wind turbine] setback authority? ...Today's land-use challenges cannot be met by silence, ignorance, and obfuscation. Accountability and leadership are needed at the state level. With the passage of SB566, this is no longer a matter of local concern, and you know it. You have a historic responsibility to provide leadership where none now exists.
I was at the Garrett County commissioners' June 24 public hearing on performance zoning, which can be used to prohibit industrial wind turbines on county ridgelines. Over two dozen residents spoke, many with raw emotion and obvious frustration over the lack of safeguards against this industry. Coming up with a way of regulating this now effectively unregulated industry should be a high priority with our elected officials. However, I am concerned that no one seems to be looking out for the property rights, health, and safety of those having to live or work next to such developments. ...Performance zoning would safeguard our basic human rights, our property, and our county's natural heritage from these intrusive, landscape-altering wind developments.
When Allegany County planners begin studying how the county should regulate wind turbines, there should be plenty of examples of how best to proceed.
Communities in many parts of the nation have been grappling with windmill issues and how to balance environmental and aesthetic concerns with energy needs.
No better example can be found than in Garrett County, where there has been a huge outcry against placing windmills on state forests lands. ...
Wind power can be an important part of the energy mix of a community. But the county needs to proceed carefully, with residential and environmental protection a No. 1 priority.
Illegal, unhealthful noise and devaluations of nearby property are only two of the many documented adverse consequences that flow out from massive wind installations. The Criterion project in particular will also devastate hundreds of acres of sensitive habitat, putting at risk much wildlife, some species of which are extremely vulnerable. The county commissioners endorsed this project last month without investigating what it would do to people and property here; this is a chilling take of how avarice overwhelms the common good. Pimping these beautiful mountains away for unsecured revenues represents values I neither understand nor respect.
Gov. O'Malley's decision to not allow wind turbines to be constructed on state forest lands was certainly good news for Garrett County. However, the fact that destruction of the last remaining bits of wilderness in Maryland was even seriously considered is a sad testament to how crazy the whole debate over wind energy in Western Maryland has become.
And let there be no doubt that wind developers will now be redoubling their efforts to construct ever-larger wind turbines on private lands wherever they can find landowners gullible enough to sign away their property forever and severely devalue their neighbors' property, for a few thousand dollars of annual rental income.
Since there are no regulations restricting the placement of turbines on private lands in Garrett County, and since the legislature in 2007 stripped away all Public Service Commission oversight, any wind developer, no matter how undercapitalized, incompetent, shady, or unscrupulous, may erect hundreds of turbines anywhere it chooses, at will.
This will become the fate of Garrett County if nothing is done locally to stop them. Fortunately, something can be done, if our public officials will only exercise the courage and good judgment their responsibilities of office dictate.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
With little notice, the Maryland Public Service Commission has scheduled a hearing on a proposal by Criterion Power Partners, LLC, formerly known as Clipper Windpower, to downsize a Garrett County wind power project ...This expedited hearing is an attempt to bypass the PSC's long-established environmental and public review process involving a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for construction of electricity generators. ...State law and regulations were all but tossed-out with the passage of Senate Bill 566, and the environmental, health, and safety protections to protect our citizens scuttled as the then-chair of the Maryland Democratic Party and wind power developer Wayne Rogers, the top leadership of the Senate, House, and governor's office, along with the massive assistance and persuasion of former speaker, and now-turned wind lobbyist, Casper R. Taylor, Jr.
The hot topic of proposed wind turbines, especially the notion of placing them on state forestland, has generated more negative response from more organizations and individuals in the county than any other issue in recent history. The commissioners heard, and they acted. Zoning is the best long-term solution to regulating, and/or preventing, the installation of wind turbines in our county, so it seems that all of these same groups and individuals should just as loudly advocate its implementation.