Library from Maryland
U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, has added language to the defense appropriations bill that could prevent the Navy from finalizing an agreement with the wind farm developers until researchers finish a study of the effects of the turbines and what could be done to mitigate them.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was among several lawmakers who last week suggested changes to the Senate version of the defense spending bill. Mikulski’s changes, if implemented would prevent the Navy from entering into an agreement with Pioneer Green until further study could be complete.
A draft ordinance to regulate large-scale wind turbines will be sent back to the Somerset County Planning Commission for review and possible revisions before County Commissioners will consider its adoption. The commissioners last week asked Planning Commission members to review the document, make revisions, hold a public hearing and send their recommendation back to the commissioners by Oct. 3.
The 750-kilowatt wind turbine will be built at the end of Dixon Street next to the sewer plant, but the adjacent properties are necessary for its operation by creating a safety buffer around it, city officials have said.
Cohen said Wednesday his company has not yet selected turbines for the project, which the company hopes to complete next year, but is now considering the most advanced technology on the market. Those turbines could stand about 690 feet tall, Cohen said. That is about twice the height the Navy has said would be acceptable with regard to sensitive radar testing in the area.
“If you lose even just a small part of the whole food chain and ecosystem, there’s a domino effect,” said Mike Callahan, an environmental educator in Charles County and past president of the Southern Maryland Audubon Society, explaining that birds help control the insect population, may help pollinate plants and are part of the food chain themselves. Bald eagles are part of the American landscape, Callahan said. When countries lose part of their “natural heritage,” he said, they lose part of their pride. The federal government has yet to sign an agreement, required to move forward, saying that company and Navy operations can coexist.
O’Malley, in a letter to the speaker of the House, said he vetoed the bill because measures already were in place to protect the Navy’s testing over the Chesapeake Bay, and because “the real threat to Pax River is not an array of wind turbines on the lower Eastern Shore, but rising sea levels caused by climate change.” ...“That’s a bunch of hooey,” said Greg Gillingham, a longtime lead test engineer and the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance lead for studying encroachment issues that threaten Pax River. “They’ve got folks believing this stuff.”
“I am deeply disappointed by Governor O’Malley’s veto,” Hoyer said in a statement late Friday afternoon. “This veto fails to demonstrate Maryland’s strong commitment and support for the mission of Patuxent River Naval Air Station.” ...House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) said he plans to survey his members to assess whether there is interest in returning to Annapolis for a special session to override the veto.
A bill that would delay a proposed wind farm in Somerset County was not on a list of legislation signed into law Thursday morning by Gov. Martin O'Malley, and its future remains uncertain.
Nina Smith, the governor's press secretary, said a list of the bills to be signed on Thursday will probably be posted later today. No decision had been made on the wind turbine bill as of Tuesday afternoon.
Governor Martin O'Malley, known to be an advocate of the wind industry, has refused to say whether he will veto the moratorium, a move that would anger legislators, who voted 122-12 in the House of Delegates and 31-16 in the Senate in favour of the bill.
The bill that was passed by the General Assembly would delay construction until July 1, 2015, after MIT completes its study ...If O’Malley vetoes the bill, there are likely enough members of the General Assembly to call a special session to override it, Bohanan said. A three-fifths vote of the elected membership in each house is necessary to override a veto, according to the Maryland General Assembly’s website. Even if the governor does nothing, the bill will become law.
City officials said they could not comment on why they resorted to using eminent domain — the right of government to take private property for public use ...The property is an unoccupied concrete block apartment building and is one of four needed for the turbine which will power the sewer plant.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratories performed an independent analysis to verify the interference and look for potential solutions. MIT briefed the Navy and the political leaders on their findings, and that is driving the necessity of the bill HB 1168 to delay construction of only those turbines that are so tall they impact testing at the naval base. Currently there are no proven technical solutions that can mitigate the effects posed by wind turbines on these systems.
Since only 7.3 jobs will be added to Somerset County, and those jobs will most certainly be from out-of-state, the best Somerset County is going to have will be 500 construction and laborer positions for the length of the construction over maybe nine months at most. ...Pax River might then be in a fix — to possibly lose 40,000 jobs associated with the base. Where does this put the state of Maryland? Does 7.3 jobs equal 40,000 jobs?
Tom Vinson's and Bruce Burcat's arguments ("A wind-win situation," April 21) asking Gov. Martin O'Malley to veto House Bill 1168, which places a temporary moratorium on the construction of wind turbines in Somerset County, suffers from the misleading arguments often used by promoters of renewable power. First, wind speed on the Chesapeake Bay's Eastern Shore is just adequate for commercial exploitation. The builders constantly refer to 150 megawatts of generation capacity, but this is the maximum or "nameplate" capacity, which is available only when the wind is strong. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's wind maps, the 25 turbines proposed for Somerset County will operate at about 30 percent of the maximum, or 45 MW.
The Maryland General Assembly passed the bill with large majorities, 122-12 in the House of Delegates and 31-16 in the Senate, “clearly sending a message of the Legislature’s intent to have the bill move forward,” Jameson wrote. “The bill provides for a pause in the process while we wait for the completion of a study of this issue at MIT, no different than the pause in the process while we study fracking in Maryland,” she wrote.
The project was hinging on the decommissioning of the Grantsville VOR/DME system, which drew opposition from Ed Kelley, manager of the Garrett County Airport, and the Maryland Aviation Administration. The Grants-ville VOR/DME system will be decommissioned, according to Maisano.
In a vote Saturday afternoon vote, the Maryland Senate approved a measure, pushing the project back just over a year. Senators in support of the bill say the delay was to further study how the height of the turbines would impact radar testing used by the Patuxent River Naval Base.
Lawmakers delayed the construction in order to wait for a study of how wind turbines could affect radar use around the U.S. Naval Air Station Patuxent River base in southern Maryland. The study will take at least a year.