An impressive lineup of speakers, county, town, and district representatives, along with over 150 interested community members crowded the Kennedyville Fire Station Thursday night to learn more about Apex Clean Energy’s study to build 25-35, 500-ft. wind turbines in the area.
At this point, Apex has not submitted an application with Maryland Public Services Commission although they have been running feasibility studies with state and federal agencies and have been in contact with property owners to discuss leasing contracts.
MPSC has the final say over Apex’s application, trumping local county zoning laws. Kent County zoning limits wind turbines to 120 ft.
The meeting, sponsored by Keep Kent Scenic (keepkentscenic.org}, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Queen Anne’s Conservation Association invited Theresa Czarski, Deputy People’s Counsel from the Office of People’s Counsel, as the evening’s keynote speaker.
Citing the solar power co-op in Chestertown as a good approach to alternative energy, Keep Kent Scenic founder William Graham said, “We are pro-green energy,” but warned that the negatives of wind-turbine energy far outweigh the advantages.
Deputy People’s Counsel Czarski described how the community could approach challenging an Apex filing during the Public Service Commission’s consideration of the company’s application. Groups and associations are required to be represented by counsel. Currently, several attorneys, including lawyers at Queen Anne’s County Conservation Association are looking at procedures to participate in challenging the approval process if it comes to that. She suggesting keeping track of the application process by checking into the Public Services Commission website
The People’s Counsel, created in 1924, is the oldest utility consumer advocacy office in the US. It acts independently from the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), and works to “represent state residential consumers of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, private water and certain transportation issues,” according to an information sheet made available to the public.
Dr. Frank Lewis, who spoke last, said that initial counsel fees could be as much as $150,000 to $200,000. If the Motion to Intervene went on to further consideration, it would cost more.
Lewis also listed the downside to having 500 ft. wind turbines in the Kennedyville area; quality of life erosion, health issues from inaudible vibration and property devaluation among others.
Apex Clean Energy, in a May 12 Q and A with Kent County News, counters arguments about health impacts. They stated, in the article by Daniel Divilio that, “To date, no peer reviewed scientific journal articles demonstrate a causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise (audible, low-frequency noise, or infrasound) they emit and resulting physiological health effects.” (Knopper and Ollson, “Health Effects and Wind Turbines: A Review of the Literature.” Environmental Health 2011, 10:78.)
KKCS is currently looking for attorney representation and appealing to the community for contributions to fund the legal process if Apex files for approval from PSC.
“Queen Anne’s Conservation Association and its 40 year history is the oldest conservation organization on the Eastern Shore, with a long history of trying to stop bad development projects view this particular project as something that would destabilize not just Kent County but really the entire region,” Executive Director of QACA said.
Due to ambient sound issues and video distortion from an overheated camera, much of the recording could not be used. However, we have put together a few minutes of pertinent points.
Front photo is William Graham
To find out more about Maryland Office of People’s Counsel go to: www.opc.state.md.us
For more about Keep Kent Scenic, go here.