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Md. wind turbine rules ignoring many issues

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.

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.

Letting a company rush to build a wind turbine farm without setting noise, height, set back standards, construction, bonding and terms for removal requirements, insurance requirements, and without considering the impacts on the environment, wildlife, and the health and safety of the residents is outrageously wrong! The Allegany County Department of Planning was to develop standards by now, however, after seven months, no results.

Without Maryland's laws, secondary impacts will be ignored, such as the impact on the wetlands, soil erosion, the Chesapeake Bay and the old growth... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

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.

Letting a company rush to build a wind turbine farm without setting noise, height, set back standards, construction, bonding and terms for removal requirements, insurance requirements, and without considering the impacts on the environment, wildlife, and the health and safety of the residents is outrageously wrong! The Allegany County Department of Planning was to develop standards by now, however, after seven months, no results.

Without Maryland's laws, secondary impacts will be ignored, such as the impact on the wetlands, soil erosion, the Chesapeake Bay and the old growth forest canopy for wildlife because of the 500 feet buffers around each turbine.

Where will the access roads be constructed? What are the upgrade requirements and cost of continuous maintenance on the state and county roads? There will be no implementation of storm water management policies to protect homes, roads, and communities on both sides of the Dan's Mountain ridgeline.

What funding is budgeted to correct these issues, or will there be an additional tax on Marylanders or more budgetary cuts of salaries and services? Exempting businesses from environmental reviews and laws only guarantees abuse, misconduct, negligence, greed, and corruption.

Upgrade cost of transmission lines need consideration if not adequate to carry electricity produced by the wind turbines. Can the regional electricity grid handle the additional megawatts? If not, who will pay for these upgrades? Will it be shared proportionally throughout the grid system or divided with different surcharge percentages charged to customers' electric bills depending on location and/or usage?

How will taxes be paid by the developers, or are they opting to make one time payments to the county in-lieu of taxes? What will be the consumers' saving and what is the proposed profit, if any, for the county?

Are the great and wise county commissioners making this business deal? If so, everyone needs to be concerned because neither they nor the governor have given me an answer to the above questions in my Nov. 12 letter.

Gov. O'Malley campaigned to protect the Chesapeake Bay, expansion of One Maryland and Smart Growth, reduce storm water impact, adopt a no-net-loss of forest and now implemented the Green Plan for the bay. However, what about Mountain Maryland?

Are the wind turbines encroaching on state forest land, endanger species' habitat, and/or private property? What about Allegany County's mountains, forest, streams, landscape, wildlife and residents?

I am for renewable energy, but let's have a solid plan that does not put the residents of Allegany County at the mercy of developers.

We already have a coal generated power plant; we should not be expected to supply the state with their unlimited demand of electricity. There needs to be a moratorium on industrial wind turbines until all zoning, infrastructures, economic, and environmental issues have been addressed; with no developers' exemption.

Do not let history repeat itself. Do not go back to the 1800s, when logging and coal mining companies moved into communities, stripped the land, and left the people in poverty. Everyone in Allegany County needs to stand up and fight for our mountains of Maryland.


Source: http://www.times-news.com/o...

JAN 18 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18664-md-wind-turbine-rules-ignoring-many-issues
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