Mr. O'Malley's decision might even be considered courageous in light of his belief that massive wind technology should be part of the mix that will drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and end our dependence on foreign oil. The governor is a busy man with much on his mind - all the more reason that he should surround himself with staff who can provide him with better information.
He seemed genuinely surprised when afterwards he was told that oil only contributes 0.3 of 1.0 percent toward the production of our electricity, making it clear that wind energy can do nothing to mitigate our reliance on foreign oil. And given the thermal implications involved in balancing wind's volatility, among other factors, the technology can offset at best relatively miniscule levels of carbon emissions. ...County leaders should work to prohibit such development before it devalues property (as even the threat of it has already done), creates unlawful noise, kills wildlife, diminishes hunting grounds, and otherwise diminishes how we literally see ourselves.
Wind power isn't looking popular in Maryland right now. Meanwhile, nuclear power has picked up strong local support. That might seem backward in the minds of some environmentalists, who portray wind turbines as a symbol of good and nuclear reactors as an emblem of evil. Some have called this one of the most liberal states in America. So why is the expected symbolism falling apart here? ...in western Maryland, local outrage continues to mushroom over the proposed construction of the state's first wind turbines. Residents in Garrett County can hardly remember a proposal that was as widely unpopular and brought so many angry citizens out to public meetings. The issue isn't safety. It's the industrialization of wooded mountaintops that are the heart of their rural identity and tourist economy.
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 ...
Recently while traveling on business I drove from Somerset (Pa.) to Cumberland via U.S. Route 219. While not a "tree hugger" the visual eyesore of 40-story wind turbines atop mountain vistas was disturbing.
The recent article on wind farms and the debate reported by the Times-News leads me to contribute my thoughts while on and after my drive.
1. What value are the residents of the area receiving from these farms?
2. Is this energy remaining local?
3. What amount of generated energy remains if any? ...Demand an accounting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am asking the county commissioners to reverse their decision supporting placement of wind turbines on privately owned Garrett County ridges and vigorously pursue strategies that would prevent this use of private land in our county. It is very clear to me that Maryland's politicized Public Service Commission will not safeguard the citizens of Garrett County.
Furthermore, our county's influence pales in comparison to that of our far Eastern counties and state government. As was discussed at the Jan. 30 public hearing at Garrett College, Garrett County is seen as the path of least resistance for the state of Maryland to meet her alternative energy mandates.
I would like for our county to make it very clear that we are NOT the path of least resistance ...
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.
Department of Natural Resources officials announced that industrial wind development seemed appropriate for state land in Garrett County because so much private land will soon be planted with massive wind turbines. Given last year's legislative wind deregulation bill, so rife with cronyism, they're right.
Now all a limited liability wind corporation need do to set up shop in Western Maryland is apply to the Public Service Commission, negotiate in secret with the grid for transmission line access, and get the PSC to hold a public hearing in the area. Even if 500 residents came to the hearing to oppose the project, with only a few approving, this outpouring would have no outcome on the permit.
People living near wind turbines in Meyersdale, Pa., as well as near the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center, W.Va., have reported a number of health and quality of life issues stemming from living near industrial wind turbines. Complaints fall into 1 of 2 categories: 1) different sounds produced by the rotation of turbine blades and nacelle to which the blades are attached, and 2) the "sun or shadow flicker" caused by the sun shining behind the rotating blades.
Sounds produced by turbines are present all the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and cover a spectrum of frequencies, particularly infrasound and low frequency noise below 500 Hz. Audible sounds include rhythmic "thumping" or continual "droning" and a "screeching" or "banging."
Many Montgomery County residents have enjoyed the beauty of Garrett County and the Deep Creek Lake area. Many have fond memories of the Scout camps, the state parks, skiing and happy summers spent in this refuge of nature. I encourage county residents to join with our neighbors in Garrett County by writing to the Department of Natural Resources, Gov. Martin O’Malley, and our state legislators.
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.
A statement that was so important to so many citizens and that was brought up so many times throughout this meeting and supported by at least 99% of those in attendance, to preserve, protect, enhance and restore Maryland's natural resources for the wise use and enjoyment of all citizens.
After all these are state lands in question and the caretakers are the Department of Natural Resources staff and this is their mission and objective statement to "protect, preserve, enhance, and restore for the wise use and enjoyment of all citizens." Was I the only one that heard this?
The heat is intensifying to stop wind turbines from being built on state forestlands in Garrett County, with the Garrett County commissioners voting this week to oppose the proposal, and the Garrett County Planning Commission agreeing yesterday to recommend imposition of a moratorium on the placement of wind turbines in the county anywhere, on private and public lands. ...It seems, however, that a change in the county's building code limiting the height of structures would be a much simpler, and obviously much quicker, way to go.
After seeing the full page ad in your paper on Jan. 29 entitled Wind Opponent Myth No. 4 - "Wind Turbines are Very Noisy," I knew I had to respond. Basically, the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition is saying you do not have to worry about noise from industrial wind turbines if they are coming to a ridge near you.
Well, I am not sure how they conduct their decibel studies, but for all practical purposes, they mean absolutely nothing. You see, our home is over a half mile from one of those ridge-top industrial wind plants, and I am here to tell you the noise from those turbines has had a dramatic impact on the sanctity of our country home.