Library filed under General from Maryland
St. Mary’s County officials applauded this week the “indefinite suspension” of a wind turbine project planned across the Chesapeake Bay from Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The Great Bay wind energy project with wind turbines nearing 600 feet tall was deemed a threat to national security last fall by the Department of Defense because of possible interference to a specialized radar system at Pax River.
"I've been doing my due diligence, trying to figure out the pros and cons," Short said. "The more I found out, the more Apex said my colleagues and I don't have much say in this matter. And anybody in this room knows me, I don't like that, and neither does Commissioner Pickrum. We like to have the authority over the citizens to do what you guys want us to do."
The Texas-based company on Friday sent a letter to the Somerset County Commissioners notifying them of the "indefinite suspension" of its Great Bay Wind project, which had been under development for nearly five years. Pioneer Green Engineer had planned to bring 25 wind turbines - each 599 feet high - to Westover. Adam Cohen, Pioneer Green's vice president, said in the letter that while the company has persevered through many obstacles, some have proven more difficult.
Pioneer Green Energy has been promoting a 25-turbine wind energy facility (599-feet tall each) to be sited in Somerset County, Maryland, across the Chesapeake Bay from the Pax River naval base in an area surrounded by dozens of active bald eagle nests. Significant objections to the project were raised by the Navy and local residents. The Maryland State Senate and Assembly voted overwhelmingly to delay the project until more information could be determined about the impacts on military radar. Objections were also raised by members of Maryland's Congressional delegation. On March 20, 2015, Pioneer Green notified the Somerset County Commissioners that the project was being placed on indefinite suspension. The letter is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC has temporarily withdrawn part of its application for the proposed 19-turbine wind project that had been filed with the Allegany County Board of Zoning Appeals. In a letter dated Dec. 9, Dan’s Mountain requested that the petitions for special exception, variance and administrative modification be withdrawn.
Dan’s Mountain Wind Force LLC recently asked the Maryland Public Service Commission for a third construction delay for 19 wind turbines atop that prominent Allegany County ridgeline. Dan’s Mountain has also asked that a motion for the construction delay be put on the agenda for the earliest possible administrative meeting of the PSC.
The company behind a proposed wind energy project remains committed to moving forward, despite recent objections rendered in a letter from the Department of Defense. ...Project Manager Paul Harris said the letter is an opinion submitted to the FAA, which has not made a final decision on the project.
Woodson is among a handful of school structures in which wind turbines taller than 150 feet could be allowed within 1,500 feet of a school property line if proposed provisions to the Somerset County zoning ordinance are approved.
Pax River contributes $7.5 billion in economic activity to the state of Maryland every year. If the Navy’s ability to do radar testing at the Navy base here is compromised that work can be moved elsewhere. ...The congressman, U.S. senator and state legislators who have tried to sidetrack the wind turbine project are representing their constituents and the state’s best interests.
Whatever economic benefits some may derive from the project will be overshadowed by the damage the facility threatens to inflict on the Chesapeake Bay region.
The Somerset County Planning Commission’s work session on its wind turbine ordinance featured the kind of feedback expected from a discussion that could have long lasting implications for the county.
A proposal to build a wind farm on Maryland's Eastern Shore within 56 miles of the U.S. Naval Air Station Patuxent River could still be delayed and potentially jeopardized, despite Gov. Martin O'Malley's veto of a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly that would have created a similar delay.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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?
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.
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.