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.