A plea for the ethics board to restore trust

Dr. Randy George of Marion Station presented the following remarks Feb. 11 to the County Ethics Commission as it begins to review financial disclosure forms submitted by the County Commissioners.
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“I’m have been very troubled by what’s going on with regards to this wind ordinance. The underlying reason, I think, why you’re here today is that wind ordinance.
“The drafting of an ordinance was commissioned by the County Commissioners to the Planning and Zoning Commission, and I think this whole discussion centers around the prestige of office, around the use of that. And that’s the underlying theme that I hear through it all.
“You are at some disadvantage, because you were not, like many of us, sitting through these long Planning and Zoning Commission meetings. Maybe that’s an advantage. But we do have, and the county does have audio/visual records of every bit of it, it’s out there.
“When Pioneer Green, we all know who that is, came into the county, it had very clear requirements. It was never vague about those requirements for what it had to have in order to be here. It needed to plant a series of turbines in an agricultural-residential area, because we are closely tied geographically to each other that didn’t leave a lot of area. People live quite close to each other even though it’s an agricultural region.
“Pioneer Green wanted to place these turbines 700 feet away from people. They finally conceded that it would be a 1,000 feet, otherwise they would have to walk. The height had to be a certain height, and if it were to be restricted, they would have to walk. If the sound was allowed to be too loud, they would have to walk, they required it to be in the range of airports and train sound levels permitted by the state of Maryland, otherwise they would not stay.
“This company had paid for its own impact study for the county, and there’s never been another one done. This impact study in general states there’s no problem with the turbines being here. In general our county regulations allow buildings, industries, activities, that allow industry to come into the county, but to also to protect the people and the process. It has to be a balanced procedure. And in this particular case, having to do with this particular wind turbine process, many of us believe that was not done. …. Continued…