Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Maryland
A bill that could allow hundreds of acres of preserved farmland to be converted to wind farms or other renewable energy projects was approved Monday by the House of Delegates, 97 to 33.
The proposal is renewing concerns raised by some western Maryland resident about the state's first two wind projects, in particular the towering windmills' proximity to homes and their potential to kill birds and bats, including one listed as endangered in Maryland. Some also worry that construction of this project could clear a large swath of forest and harm the nearby Savage River, one of Maryland's premier trout streams.
A major portion - 75 percent - of the proposed Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County is in the state's designated "sensitive areas" as having rare, threatened and endangered species, according to Jim Torrington, chief of the Garrett County Permits and Inspections Division.
White Construction, Synergics Roth Rock Energy LLC finalized a settlement agreement to resolve alleged sediment control violations that occurred during the construction of the Roth Rock Wind Farm near Red House. The agreement requires White Construction to pay a $35,000 penalty to the Clean Water Fund.
The board "does not support further industrialization of ridge tops until a prudent and reasonable public policy has been created and enacted that will provide protections to those who will be adversely impacted," Chairman Gregan Crawford said in the letter.
Maryland's first two wind projects are facing mounting pressure from environmental groups that insist the developers are endangering the Indiana bat, a creature listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). ...Some environmental groups forced Chicago-based developer Invenergy to halt construction on a West Virginia wind farm because it failed to obtain an ITP.
Major construction on a Garrett County wind farm remains at a standstill more than one week after state environmental officials ordered a halt over violations related to water runoff and soil erosion controls.
Shame on the county commissioners for allowing this to continue and shame on the Maryland legislators for rejecting Delegate Beitzel's legislation to allow the commissioners to establish some controls such as boundary set backs (a day late and a dollar short). Finally, shame on us for allowing the eastern wind barons to bamboozle the citizens of both counties.
Maryland's first industrial wind farm has gotten off to a rough start, with construction temporarily halted after environmental regulators discovered mud washing from the remote Garrett County mountaintop site into a tributary of one of the state's wild and scenic rivers. Constellation Energy has scrambled to put in stronger erosion controls as it erects more than two dozen 400-foot-tall turbines along an eight-mile stretch of Backbone Mountain.
Startled residents in the Eagle Rock area, some located within just 15 or 20 feet of the project, used words such as "shocked" and "horrified" when they were awakened by the sound of chainsaws, trucks, dozers, and massive excavating machines felling thousands of trees adjacent to their properties. Several acres of forestland timber were leveled within a matter of a few days. The project, however, came to an abrupt halt Tuesday after one of the residents - who happens to be a contractor -suggested that the work was being done in a manner that was not in compliance with state environmental law.
Homeowners who live near the site of proposed Western Maryland wind farm brought their case before utility regulators Wednesday, saying the impact on their safety has not been adequately considered. ''This commission is our last and only hope our government will protect us,'' said homeowner Victor Fickes. Synergics Wind Energy wants to build a 50-megawatt wind energy farm atop Backbone Mountain near Oakland in Garrett County.
State energy officials are gauging interest from developers who would build an offshore farm of electricity-generating, skyscraper-sized wind turbines off the Worcester coastline. "The question is, how do we tap into the wind resources that we've got?" said Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm D. Woolf.
The mayor and council recently approved a first reading of the ordinance that would allow personal wind turbines as tall as 165 feet in Frostburg's backyards. At the Aug. 20 public meeting, the city officials are scheduled to have subsequent readings and a vote on the matter, though some talk has surfaced about postponing that action until September. "A structure this high is equivalent to a 16-story building," Bambacus told the elected officials in an e-mail.
Though the Mineral County commissioners heard from US Windforce on the Pinnacle project on Green Mountain last month, the Allegheny Front Alliance got the chance Tuesday to try to refute some of the wind developer's claims. The group's nearly hour-long presentation included sentiments that the energy provided by the project was not needed in West Virginia, but in the other states on the PJM grid.
A $1.2 billion, 150-mile power line that would cross Maryland and lay high-voltage cables under the Chesapeake Bay for the first time has been proposed to ease the threat of blackouts on the growing Delmarva Peninsula. But the proposal is generating opposition from environmentalists, landowners and even business interests in mostly rural Dorchester County, who worry that the project could disrupt farming, damage sensitive marshlands and blight the area's growing tourism.
Wind Farm near Keyser is a favorable site for turbines based on wildlife considerations, according to extensive studies conducted by environmental consultants retained by the developer, US WindForce. That was the message from Monday night's meeting of the Community Advisory Panel, delivered by Jennie Henthorn of Henthron Environmental Consultants.
Dear Allegany County commissioners:
Residents filled the auditorium of Washington High School on Monday evening in hopes that their voices would be heard and a change would be made to the proposed route for a high-voltage power line slated for construction in the area. Nearly 150 people turned out for a public hearing about P.A.T.H., which stands for Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, and is a joint venture of Allegheny Energy and American Electric Power that was announced last year.
I have perused two binders prepared by Dan's Mountain Wind Force, LLC, a subsidiary of U.S. Wind Force which, along with several state and local officials, wanted to place 100 industrial wind turbines in our state forests and parks. After nearly 500 people showed up to protest, Gov. O'Malley changed his mind. Now U.S. Wind Force has renewed its interest in the path of least resistance, the Allegany County commissioners.
On Jan. 22 at 4 p.m. in Room 218 at Frostburg State University's Dunkle Hall, the Maryland Public Service Commission will receive public comments on a Goliath windplant - with 29 industrial turbines, each nearly 500-feet tall - to be constructed over five miles of terrain atop Dan's Mountain, just south of Frostburg. The wind project would dwarf all development ever built in the history of Western Maryland and would be the most visually dominant feature in our landscape, particularly since its football-field-long rotor blades would be continuously in motion.