Article

Questions remain on Dan's Mountain wind project

And it was with a heavy heart, perhaps, that the Frostburg State University professor went against her gut feeling and asked that the Maryland Public Service Commission deny a request by Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC for an exemption from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity. Granting the request would make the 60-megawatt project able to streamline the permit and construction process. Denial of the request would cause the project to undergo scrutiny by several state agencies.

Public comment period open through Feb. 2.

CUMBERLAND - Sydney Duncan is "unequivocally in favor of green energy."

And it was with a heavy heart, perhaps, that the Frostburg State University professor went against her gut feeling and asked that the Maryland Public Service Commission deny a request by Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC for an exemption from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

Granting the request would make the 60-megawatt project able to streamline the permit and construction process. Denial of the request would cause the project to undergo scrutiny by several state agencies.

"We can not keep putting our faith in outdated, outmoded forms" of energy, said Duncan, who had solar panels installed on the roof of her home, to administrative law Judge Joel M. Bright, hearing examiner, inside Dunkle Hall on the campus where she teaches English courses. "I would love to support this project. But I think what I heard here today ... there are a number of people in this community unhappy" with what information has been available.

Duncan was one of more than three dozen people who spoke about the 25-turbine project proposed atop Dan's Mountain about three miles... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Public comment period open through Feb. 2.

CUMBERLAND - Sydney Duncan is "unequivocally in favor of green energy."

And it was with a heavy heart, perhaps, that the Frostburg State University professor went against her gut feeling and asked that the Maryland Public Service Commission deny a request by Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC for an exemption from obtaining a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.

Granting the request would make the 60-megawatt project able to streamline the permit and construction process. Denial of the request would cause the project to undergo scrutiny by several state agencies.

"We can not keep putting our faith in outdated, outmoded forms" of energy, said Duncan, who had solar panels installed on the roof of her home, to administrative law Judge Joel M. Bright, hearing examiner, inside Dunkle Hall on the campus where she teaches English courses. "I would love to support this project. But I think what I heard here today ... there are a number of people in this community unhappy" with what information has been available.

Duncan was one of more than three dozen people who spoke about the 25-turbine project proposed atop Dan's Mountain about three miles southeast of Frostburg and about seven miles southwest of Cumberland and adjacent to Dan's Mountain Wildlife Management Area. More than 200 people packed the auditorium during the five-hour public hearing.

Opponents of the project gained a small victory midway through the hearing when Bright, after hearing the request to extend the public comment period beyond Thursday, announced he would do just that. Those wishing to do so can submit a hard copy letter on the proposed project and send it to: Executive Secretary Terry Romine, Public Service Commission, William Donald Schaefer Tower, 6 St. Paul St., Baltimore, MD 21202-6806. The letter must reference Case No. 9164.

No e-mails or faxes will be accepted, Bright said, and letters must be received by - not postmarked by - Feb. 2. For more information, visit the Public Service Commission Web site at www.psc.state.md.us.

Ray Bordeau agreed with Duncan.

"There seems to be enough procedural questions" that remain, he said. "Whether they are valid or not, I do not know. There are many unanswered questions. This is not an absolute pressing urgency."

Those who spoke were nearly split on which side of the request for exemption they spoke on. Fifteen people spoke against the project and 18 spoke in favor of it. Four people either were neutral or did not indicate a position.

Critics cited concerns about potential disruptions to emergency communications capabilities, impact to the environment and protected wildlife species, aesthetics, safety and the loss of recreation land.

Proponents said wind is the ultimate form of clean energy and highlighted that Allegany County would receive millions in tax payments, residents would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in lease payments and hundreds of jobs would be created during construction.

Jeff Hutter, president of Two-Way Radio Communications in Cumberland, said his company has been employed on a number of wind farm projects in the region. TWR is one of the largest landowners atop Dan's Rock. He spoke in favor of Dan's Mountain Wind Force.

"It impacts us," Hutter said. "It helps us employ local people."

Mona Clites, dean of administrative services at Allegany College of Maryland, said school officials were concerned about disruption or degradation to microwaves atop Dan's Mountain which could impact voice, Internet video and data transmissions on campus.

Richard Berg, director of communications for the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, said he was concerned his agency was never contacted to provide input on the possible disruption of emergency communications the project might have.

"I'm very concerned about the placement of these towers," he said. "They're very key to public safety."

Hutter, who has been working with Dan's Mountain Wind Force, said experts have mapped out nearly a dozen microwave paths all belonging to different agencies.

"We think we've got most of them mapped out," Hutter said. "There are some unlicensed paths. We really aren't sure of the exact answer yet" in solving the problem of potential disruption of communications.

Bright said statute and regulations indicate a report by him is due to the Public Service Commission "as expeditiously" as possible. The PSC then would schedule the matter for a vote, likely on a Wednesday administrative meeting. Agendas for the PSC can be found online at www.psc.state.md.us.


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

JAN 23 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18727-questions-remain-on-dan-s-mountain-wind-project
back to top