Library filed under Impact on People from Maryland
So many people have flooded the Maryland Department of Natural Resources with emails, calls and letters about a proposal to build wind turbines in state forests that the agency has been forced to find a larger venue for its public hearing. "We've had a lot of interest expressed, so we changed the date," said Olivia Campbell, spokeswoman for the state wildlife agency. "We are making it easier for the public to participate. We realize a lot of people have passion on both sides." ...Some people have expressed strong opposition to the idea of letting developers rip up state forests and build tall industrial machines. Others strongly support the idea of using state property to generate clean, pollution-free electricity.
Mark Diehl, conservation chairman of the Western Maryland Group of the Sierra Club, and Sam White, Western Maryland representative of the Maryland Sierra Club, both told the District 1 legislative delegation Saturday during a public forum at Allegany College of Maryland they oppose that type of renewable, clean, alternative energy source. But why? For starters, Diehl said, "it's just not worth it. It seems like a good idea" but it's not. He said it would take too many tall, unsightly turbines - "thousands, maybe tens of thousands" - to gather enough wind and produce enough energy to make a difference. The alteration of the area's scenic beauty, he said, isn't worth the sacrifice.
During a week filled with concerns about protecting the environment comes the alarming news that state officials are considering exploiting one resource to develop another. As reported by The Sun's Tom Pelton, the O'Malley administration is weighing a request from Pennsylvania developers to lease and clear-cut 400 mountaintop acres in two state forests in Western Maryland so they can erect 100 wind turbines, 40 stories tall, to supply clean power to just 55,000 homes. This counterproductive proposal should be rejected out of hand. Publicly owned land should be not be leased to private developers for any purpose, much less one that by definition will deny access to and enjoyment of that land to the public. ...Wind power is very attractive because it offers a renewable energy source that does not emit the pollutants that contribute to global warming and poison the Chesapeake Bay. But windmills don't come without their own costs to the environment and to the quality of life of those who live nearby. Whether densely populated Maryland is an appropriate place for wind farms is still an open question. The only windmill project to win state approval so far got it through a General Assembly mandate to overrule environmental conditions applied by the Public Service Commission.
Dominion Power and the Grant County Commission responded to a Mount Storm resident's concerns about the potential for ice on the blades of wind turbines this winter. Bruce Halgren of Mount Storm appeared before commissioners Jim Wilson, Charlie Goldizen and Jim Cole Tuesday. He said that he is concerned that the proximity of some of the NedPower wind turbines being constructed along Grassy Ridge Road could present a safety hazard to motorists from ice and debris being thrown off by the turbine blades in the wintertime.
Be wary of individuals preaching the benefits while avoiding mention of ill effects from wind turbines. They probably are set to make a bundle off the things.
Jon Boone is a intervenor in a Maryland Public Service Commission windpower case (No. 9008). On September 16, 2005, he formally submitted his direct testimony in this case. His testimony and attachments cover the gamut of issues surrounding the wind industry.
Jon Boone addresses wind power for the Mid-Atlantic region.
Eyesores or clean machines? Environmentalists are split over the giant energy-producing towers popping up in Maryland and other states.