Maryland is making bad choices for the environment

January 30, 2013

Thanks to Tim Wheeler for his article, "Turbines in the Wind" (Jan 28).

The wind industry in Western Maryland is just the latest in the litany of industries despoiling their natural resources and landscapes. First, the timber industry denuded the forests, resulting in massive sedimentation of streams. Next came deep coal mines that even today require lime dosers to neutralize the acid drainage. Next, strip mining of coal from the surfaces of land, requiring revegetation that often dies from the acidic soil.

Now we have the wind industry working its will with promises of taxes to help fund schools (not unlike the gambling industry). In the case of wind, the destruction is to a scarce commodity, mountaintop interior forests that provide necessary habitats for a number of rare and endangered species.

In the case of Wayne Rogers' first project at Roth Rock, several of the proposed sites failed environmental review. He then got the legislature to change the rules, reapplied and secured the project without the review. He expects to do so again at Four-Mile Ridge.

What is driving this industry madness toward such destructive projects, aside from greed and tax subsidies? In the case of wind, it is Maryland's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law that stipulates that by 2022, Maryland must produce 20 percent of its energy from renewables or the industry must pay a fine. It is doubtful that the goal will be met.

In New Hampshire, there is a move to repeal their RPS law because the utilities can't meet the goal and instead are paying the fines. Subsequently, they are charging their customers the amount of the fines without producing any energy. Several other states have either already repealed or are about to repeal their RPS bills.

Maryland take heed!

Ajax Eastman, Baltimore

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