Articles from Maryland
The subject of wind power brought pros and cons to the floor of discussion during the Mineral County Development Authority meeting held Tuesday evening at the Elk District Fire Hall. ...Spiggle stated that he would ask two questions to wind power companies, both dealing with signed contracts by the company, with one a promise of tax revenue, and the other verifying the company would remove the turbines if necessary. "If the company would answer ‘no' to the questions, then I would oppose the wind mill project," Spiggle said.
Members of the Community Advisory Panel for the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm near Keyser traveled to Berlin, Pa., Monday for a neck-craning, up-close tour of a wind turbine project similar to the one planned for Green Mountain. About a dozen members of the volunteer panel were guests of US WindForce as they toured the 18-turbine Lookout Project in Somerset County, which is operated by Edison Mission Group, one of the nation's leading operators of electric power generation.
The excellent letter by Dorothy K. Biggs leaves unsaid what must be said ("County shouldn't let US Wind Force write its own regulations," May 16 Times-News). We really need to know all about the dealings which the Allegany County commissioners have had with U.S. Wind Force, LLC.
Allegany County staff on Tuesday rejected a half dozen suggestions and critiques by US WindForce regarding proposed amendments to the county zoning code. US WindForce President Tom Matthews has said the loss of any more turbines to the planned Dan's Mountain project would eliminate the project from being a viable one. The county, however, has consistently presented a goal of balancing those business needs with adequate safeguards for its residents.
Allegany County staff on Tuesday rejected half a dozen suggestions or critiques by US Wind Force regarding proposed amendments to the county zoning code. US Wind Force President Tom Matthews has said the loss of any more turbines to the planned Dan's Mountain project would eliminate the project from being a viable one.
The Lookout wind project in Somerset County is five turbines smaller than the US WindForce project proposed at Pinnacle in Mineral County, but members of the Community Advisory Panel got the opportunity to get a feel for wind farms and meet the company likely to operate the Pinnacle project. "Edison is our joint venture partner," Jim Cookman, vice president of project development for US WindForce, said during Monday's tour. "We have a joint development agreement.
A key factor in any decision the commissioners might make regarding the proposed amendments to the county zoning code could involve the recently adopted LaVale Region Comprehensive Plan. The proposed changes would impact any future industrial wind energy venture, Stakem noted, but only the Dan’s Mountain project has open permits with county government. Lewis said last week, and Stakem reiterated Monday, that the LaVale planning area does not permit industrial wind turbines.
The Allegany County commissioners have postponed Thursday's public work session discussion that was to focus on the proposed restrictions to industrial wind farms. The public meeting is now scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the County Office Complex. The commissioners, acting County Administrator David Eberly and County Attorney Bill Rudd are to analyze a number of points made by US Wind Force President Tom Matthews.
US Wind Force has been planning this development since at least as early as 2004. Why is it that when a developer starts planning, the county cannot make any changes to local zoning regulations for fear of lawsuit? ...The county commission has the right (and the duty) to make changes to ordinances, when necessary, to protect the well-being of the citizens of Allegany County, regardless of who is planning what project.
The possibility of 200 construction jobs didn't sway critics of a planned commercial wind turbine project atop Dan's Mountain. Neither did an estimated $5.4 million in new property tax revenue over the next decade. Nor did an appeal to clean, green energy. Instead, the 14 area residents who spoke in favor of legislation that would place steep limitations on industrial wind energy projects here said the project simply wasn't a good fit for Allegany County.
The Allegany County commissioners on Tuesday gave Tom Matthews, US Wind Force president, 60 minutes to explain why the proposed county zoning code amendments would terminate future wind energy projects here. But Matthews only needed 53 of them to tell them the legislation is a bad idea - and that they could be held liable for "potentially illegal roadblocks."
The Community Advisory Panel for the proposed Pinnacle Wind Farm near Keyser will not conduct its regular monthly meeting, with panel members instead slated to tour a Pennsylvania wind farm later this month. The wind farm tour, which is limited to members of the panel, is scheduled for May 18.
In announcing the new hearing, the commissioners referred to county wind energy legislation they enacted in 2002 “to regulate location and setback standards.” However, none should infer from this statement that this legislation had a high pubic purpose. Instead, the record will show the commissioners gutted height restrictions in place at the time, replacing them with “regulations” taken directly from the boilerplate of limited liability wind companies, allowing them virtually unfettered access to Allegany County’s landscape.
Once again, you have made a farce out of the democratic process by remaining silent and secretive over the past seven years while avoiding a reasonable moratorium or making any comment on this matter until the last several weeks. Some serious realism and a sense of public purpose is needed, and not the arrogant and incompetent actions that seem to permeate this administration.
As taxpayers of Allegany County, Maryland and residents of Harwood Subdivision located adjacent to the proposed Dan's Mountain Wind Project, we are in favor of zoning regulations for industrial wind farms and support Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-09. The proposed regulations will play a vital role in providing protection to property owners that presently does not exist.
Recently, Senate Bill 771, which would set up a study committee in the legislature to formulate statewide performance standards for industrial wind turbines, died in the House of Delegates without even the courtesy of a committee vote. As you will recall, this proposal by Senator Edwards received a favorable Senate Finance Committee vote and a 45-0 vote from the full Senate. This means that there are no safety, health or environmental protections against industrial wind turbines at the local or state level.
The Allegany County Board of Commissioners on Thursday granted the president of US Wind Force a meeting to discuss why a proposed bill to regulate the wind industry is a bad idea. Tom Matthews appealed during the public comment period of Thursday’s weekly meeting that amendments to the zoning code — drafted to protect the county and its residents — are too restrictive.
Poolesville's Planning Commission has delayed a decision on permitting an energy-generating wind turbine while it develops a policy on alternative energy sources. If approved, the turbine, which John Speelman proposes building at his Poolesville Hardware store at 19961 Fisher Ave., would be the first wind generator in town.
Jamie Walsh said Allegany County officials are trying to impose strict standards on small industrial wind turbine projects - regulations that are even more limiting than larger projects that require in-depth review by a number of state agencies. ...And the consensus appeared to be the commissioners favored imposing some form of the amendments to the county zoning code.
The Allegany County commissioners returned from a trip to Somerset County in Pennsylvania with a little more insight in terms of wind turbines. Commissioners Dale Lewis and Robert Hutcheson said Thursday the visit was very informative.