There were many testimonies as to how wind turbines would ruin beautiful Garrett County's rural landscape. But more importantly pointed out were all the misconceptions and mistruths that the wind companies have been advertising and lobbying. Wind turbines provide meaningless energy because there is no capacity. This means that the wind turbines can produce energy only when the wind is blowing and not provide meaningful energy when it is needed the most, with no possible way of storing the energy for later usage when it could actually help. Therefore, not a single coal-fired plant could ever be replaced or kept from being built by constructing wind turbines.
It was clear to me and almost everyone present that the many cons of wind turbine installation on state lands far outweigh the very few pros. It was also crystal clear to me that Garrett County does not want wind turbines.
Over the last five years, environmental degradation to our beautiful natural landscape is occurring without the public's knowledge as closed-door negotiations among local and state government and energy companies take place. And, of course there is very limited federal, state, and local regulatory oversight.
One of the most important public meetings in the history of Garrett County will be held in the auditorium of Garrett College next Wednesday evening, when officials from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources will be present to receive testimony from citizens about the proposal to place wind turbines on state forest land in the county. It is hoped that all 300-plus seats of the auditorium, as well as every available square foot of standing space, will be filled. ...Even John Griffin, secretary of the DNR, said that it is unlikely that there will be any kind of wind-energy development in the bay and around Ocean City "in our lifetimes." (His exact words.)
So basically the proponents of wind energy, including our governor, are seeking "the path of least resistance." That path would be right here in Garrett County, folks. Because we are much fewer in number than those who live in the aforementioned areas downstate, this is where they want to open a door that will be almost impossible to ever close again. What it equates to is a total lack of respect for those of us who live here, those of us whose livelihoods are based directly or indirectly on the tourism industry, which will most certainly be damaged if the wind towers are allowed to be placed on state land. How dare they.
Democracy and regulatory red tape can indeed be a tedious business. But that doesn’t excuse a move under way in the General Assembly to exempt a politically well-connected wind power developer from a long-established review process that has imposed thoughtful limits on his project.
The proposal so thoroughly excludes citizen participation in reviewing this and future projects they wouldn’t even get a public hearing.
Wind power may prove part of the answer to Maryland’s energy needs, but successful turbine projects must be able to withstand thorough scrutiny by the Public Service Commission, with the expert advice of all relevant state agencies and the comments of any interested citizens.
Backers of offshore development point out that the winds off Maryland's coast are strong, a nearby energy resource that the state should exploit. But if the most efficient way to meet the mandate is to build offshore wind farms, then offshore wind farms will prosper under existing policy. If it's not, then they should not be built.
Recently, Senate Bill 771, which would set up a study committee in the legislature to formulate statewide performance standards for industrial wind turbines, died in the House of Delegates without even the courtesy of a committee vote. As you will recall, this proposal by Senator Edwards received a favorable Senate Finance Committee vote and a 45-0 vote from the full Senate. This means that there are no safety, health or environmental protections against industrial wind turbines at the local or state level.
For all of us who cherish the beauty and natural qualities of Allegany and Garrett Counties, our citizens have a responsibility to seriously question the State of Maryland government as public officials negotiate with the company, U.S. Wind Force, to erect 100 industrial wind turbines, each the size of the Washington Monument in our mountains. ...Most importantly, and not really surprising, is the indisputable fact that little has been done in the area of planning and policy development at the local, state, and national levels of government on erecting wind farms on public lands. Has any one at the municipal, county, or state level given any thought to what constitutes protection of public health and safety for siting and operating these giant 400 foot industrial turbines with capacities of 1.65 to 2 megawatts of power? There is a lack of planning capacity in rural Allegany and Garrett Counties, as well as the rest of the Maryland, to deal with this complex issue, and the state does not seem to want to provide any assistance or do much to stand in the way of the wind developers.
Let's face it, from a statewide perspective Western Maryland is the place of least resistance.
It is remarkable Maryland has proceeded so far without a benefit / cost assessment. Even though the whole point is to reduce electric power system emissions, there has been no evaluation of the impact of the wind farm on electric power system CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions. There has been no evaluation of system-wide cost; how much will Maryland offshore wind increase electric bills?
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.
For all of us who cherish the beauty and natural qualities of Allegany and Garrett counties, our citizens have a responsibility to seriously question the state of Maryland government as public officials negotiate with the company, U.S. Wind Force, to erect 100 wind turbines, each the size of the Washington Monument in our mountains. ...Most importantly, and not really surprising, is the indisputable fact that little has been done in the area of planning and policy development at the local, state, and national levels of government on erecting wind farms on public lands. Has any one at the municipal, county, or state level given any thought to what constitutes protection of public health and safety for siting and operating these giant 400-foot industrial turbines with capacities of 1.65 to 2 megawatts of power? There is a lack of planning capacity in rural Allegany and Garrett counties, as well as the rest of the Maryland, to deal with this complex issue, and the state does not seem to want to provide any assistance or do much to stand in the way of the wind developers.
Let's face it, from a statewide perspective Western Maryland is the place of least resistance.
Possible wind energy industrialization of Garrett County has brought into focus the conflicts between needs and preferences of the individual citizen vis a vis the interests and desires of local government, state government and big industry. ...Local government is local because it best knows and understands the concerns of citizens. Local elected officials are in the best position to represent the preponderance of views of their constituency. I implore our local officials to protect our resources, be proactive in fighting those forces threatening those resources and be forthcoming in their views and positions that relate to these issues.
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.
Spawned, then supported, by government welfare measures at considerable public expense, it[industrial wind energy] produces no meaningful product, yet provides enormous profits to a very few, playing havoc with the environment while claiming to be saving it.
The Department of Natural Resources is obviously taking its good old time before rendering a decision on whether or not to allow state forestland to be utilized for wind farms, a proposal that raised the ire of hundreds (probably thousands) of Garrett County residents, property owners, and even regular visitors.
It's inconceivable that the DNR, Governor O'Malley, the Public Service Commission (PSC), and others in authority would sell us out in this manner, but the longer it goes before a decision is rendered, the more nervous those of us who oppose the proposal become. ...the very least that should be required of the wind developers is that they would be 100% responsible for the removal of turbines if for any reason they are abandoned or become non-functional.
However, because of the intermittent, unpredictable nature of wind, no homes would be powered by the wind industry. Given this limitation and the fact that industrial electricity must be consumed immediately, wind can generate only energy – not capacity – to the electricity grid.
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.
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.
O'Malley's latest proposal will cost electric consumers more than $2 billion. It will raise the price of electric power for all Marylanders. Particularly hard hit will be supermarket chains, which consume huge amounts of electricity, industrial plants and small businesses that can ill afford another government-mandated expense.
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.
But some, including a number of Republicans, are questioning both the $2-a-month cost figure and the forecast of jobs for Marylanders.
In fact, searching through a number of studies shows how difficult it is to come up with reliable numbers on wind energy costs.