Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Judge blocks Md. wind turbine farm, latest example of rural-urban conflict over wind power

Cumberland, Md. (Best Places map)
Lawyers for wind power developer Dan's Mountain Wind Force LLC last week filed an appeal to an "administrative law judge's denial of its plans for a 17-turbine project atop Dan's Mountain, southwest of Cumberland, Md.," reports The Associated Press. "Chief Public Utility Law Judge Terry J. Romine issued a proposed order in January that said the project's potential benefits were outweighed by its negative effects on those living near the site. The order would have become final Saturday. The developer has argued that the project is a public necessity that will create jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue."

Romine said "the project's potential benefits on Dan's Mountain are outweighed by the negative effects on the community south of Cumberland," reports the Cumberland News-Times. "The project was blocked by land-use restrictions but the developer was seeking to convince regulators that the wind farm is a public necessity." The judge said the project did “not justify or offset subjecting the local community to the adverse impacts that will result from the wind project’s construction and operation," Robert Bruce writes in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. "The judge’s ruling probably spells the end of an eight-year battle that pitted local homeowners and Allegany County against the developer of the 60-megawatt project."

Bryce's piece begins, "Urban voters may like the idea of using more wind and solar energy, but the push for large-scale renewables is creating land-use conflicts in rural regions from Maryland to California and Ontario to Loch Ness" in Scotland." He writes, "Rural residents don’t want to see the red-blinking lights atop the turbines, all night, every night for the rest of their lives."

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