In a letter from Pioneer Green it distorts the truth about the wind forum and wind energy for Somerset County. The wind forum provided speakers with expertise and no connections to wind companies. Throughout the public hearing process Paul Harris has contended all information supporting the wind project is factual and information showing the risks and dangers is untrue. He has been dismissive of independent research by reputable universities and recognized experts.
Mr. Harris and Pioneer Green do not want the public to think there is danger associated with this massive wind project.
The turbines will provide few long-term jobs. Construction will be done primarily by outside contractors. This point cannot be emphasized too strongly. The economic study done by the University of Baltimore assumes most construction jobs will involve county residents and businesses. There are no concrete plants in the county, no engineering or architectural firms, no materials testing laboratories, no large crane owners or operators and few skilled laborers needed.
There are few motels in the county. Most rental housing is student housing for UMES or subsidized housing. The vast portion of the labor, materials, housing and dining will be supplied outside the county.
Wind turbines do reduce property values significantly as shown by independent studies conducted by the London School of Economics, Clarkson University, Aachen University in Germany and McCann studies in the Midwest, along with common sense. Setbacks are 1,000 feet for a nearly 600 foot turbine and there will be residents with constant flicker in their homes depending on location of the sun. Houses near wind turbines will be subject to levels of audible and inaudible noise that cause health problems including migraine headaches and sleep deprivation. These houses will be unsaleable.
The purpose of “good neighbor agreements” is to buy off the rights of neighboring residents to file claims against them later when they realize the devastating effects to their properties. Now I ask, would a Microsoft corporate office need to sign “good neighbor agreements” for residents located near the office. Of course not. This agreement indicates wind companies are trying to protect themselves from claims because surrounding residents will be negatively affected.
Physicians and health care workers document harmful health effects from turbines. Mr. Harris ignores the existence of lawsuits from Texas to Wisconsin against operating wind farms over health problems caused by turbines. In a Texas lawsuit, leaseholders are suing operators about health problems they allege the company never warned them about.
The majority of county residents are against this project. At county hearings 90% of residents affected by turbines are opposed. The only residents in favor are those who financially benefit. Residents affected are against the project because it is a violation of property rights. Public hearings have shown if turbines were placed throughout the county there would be widespread opposition. The rest of the wind story letter fails to mention the Lewes turbine is a single low height turbine, not 50 turbines in residential areas.
Paul Harris mentions families struggling to make ends meet on fixed incomes. He does not mention turbines will not individually help them financially and significantly lower equity in their homes. Residents stand to lose thousands of dollars in equity.
The environmental science is clear. The county is in the Atlantic flyway and thousands of birds will be destroyed. Wind company studies show bird mortality is less than other structures. The prestigious scientific journal Nature states this is true if turbines are strategically placed, which is not the case here. It also states eagles and vultures are still vulnerable due to heights of the turbines.
Residents are not against wind energy. They are against turbines in neighborhoods where they do not belong. Pioneer Green has recently been rejected in Alabama, New York and Pennsylvania. They prey on what they believe are poor and dumb counties. We are neither poor nor dumb and proud of our county and its heritage. We do not want to see turbines destroying views on our horizons. Neither do other areas, which is why wind companies have a difficult time getting established. Defend your property rights and your county against those who seek to destroy them.