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Critics: Dan's Mountain project not good fit for Allegany County

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.

CUMBERLAND -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.

Many didn't accept the figures offered by US Wind Force on job estimates, tax revenue or much of anything else wind energy advocates have had to say over the past several months in a series of public discussions. And wind energy proponents said Tuesday during a public meeting with Allegany County commissioners that Code Home Rule Bill 2-09 would end the discussion altogether.

Tom Matthews, US Wind Force president, called the legislation "a project killer."

But area resident Tony Batina, a former real estate agent, said family members that live on Dan's Mountain chose to do so because of "location, location, location."

Batina said the project undoubtedly would cause area homes to drop in value. And while the commissioners... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CUMBERLAND -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.

Many didn't accept the figures offered by US Wind Force on job estimates, tax revenue or much of anything else wind energy advocates have had to say over the past several months in a series of public discussions. And wind energy proponents said Tuesday during a public meeting with Allegany County commissioners that Code Home Rule Bill 2-09 would end the discussion altogether.

Tom Matthews, US Wind Force president, called the legislation "a project killer."

But area resident Tony Batina, a former real estate agent, said family members that live on Dan's Mountain chose to do so because of "location, location, location."

Batina said the project undoubtedly would cause area homes to drop in value. And while the commissioners recently visited a wind project in Somerset County, Pa., those impressions are temporary, he said, while the impact of the Dan's Mountain project "will be forever."

Bill Valentine, co-chairman of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee, said the chamber didn't take a position for or against wind energy in general. The organization that purports to represent the interests of more than 400 members and their employees, however, called the bill "a citizen protection bill that we fully support."

Commission President Jim Stakem asked if Valentine spoke on behalf of the chamber or the committee. Valentine said yes, but Jeff Hutter, of TWR Communications and a chamber member, intimated that no one asked his opinion before the chamber's board of directors voted on the issue.

Later, chamber President Kolin Jan reiterated that Valentine spoke on behalf of the chamber.

Harwood Subdivision residents Elaine Ridenour and K. Darlene Park both spoke in favor of the bill. Ridenour said the wind turbine project "puts every homeowner at risk" of wells being damaged. The project, she said, "threatens the quality of life that homeowners have established."

Ridenour also expressed concern about noise and safety concerns, noting reported incidents of ice chunks being thrown from wind turbine blades in winter months.

Park said the commissioners' decision shouldn't be based on jobs but on what best protects county residents.

"If US Wind Force decides not to invest, then that is their decision," Park said.

Park said timber and mining industries have been heavily regulated and still thrive today. The wind energy industry is new but should be held to a high standard, she said.

Frostburg area resident Kevin Smith said US Wind Force, which presented an alternative to the county's proposed zoning code amendments, shouldn't be permitted to write the regulations.

Smith acknowledged the commissioners had a difficult decision to make but made his choice clear: "I support green energy, but not without regulations put in place."

Spruce Drive resident Erin Stark just moved from Arizona but wouldn't have purchased a home in the area if she'd known of the wind turbine project - something her real estate agent failed to mention, she said.


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

MAY 6 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20151-critics-dan-s-mountain-project-not-good-fit-for-allegany-county
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