WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Wind Turbines Scare Off Md. County

Play associated audio
Officials in Garrett County, Md. were previously on board with on-shore wind farms, such as the one shown here in Illinois. But now that some of them have been built, a new swath of lawmakers are changing the county's path.
Elizabeth Beers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/brixton/186597058/)
Officials in Garrett County, Md. were previously on board with on-shore wind farms, such as the one shown here in Illinois. But now that some of them have been built, a new swath of lawmakers are changing the county's path.

Future wind projects in Western Maryland may be on hold for the next few years. Garrett County, Md. has some of the state's best locations for on-shore wind power, and there are two big wind operations there now. But wind turbines have long been a source of contention, and the appetite for more projects is dwindling. 

"This was a really hot topic," says Lamont Pagenhardt, the county's administrator. "There were meetings, and there was screaming and yelling and letters to the editor and it got pretty nasty." 

For more than a decade, the county's political leaders supported wind farms, but that's changed. "As the turbines actually went up, I think opinion changed, public opinion as far as the view shed and the turbines actually being here," says Pagenhardt.

The county's commissioners, elected last year, have sent letters to wind developers operating in the county, including Constellation Energy, saying that they've had enough. They cite noise, proximity, and dropping property values among other complaints. 

The county doesn't actually have authority to block wind projects, but that could change. A spokesperson for Constellation says it doesn't have plans for future projects but that in general such large investments require cooperation from local government.

Opinions among county residents remain divided, Pagenhardt says, because taxes from wind turbines contribute to almost half of the county's personal property and public utility tax revenue.

NPR

How A Music Writer Learned Trust Is The Ultimate Backstage Pass

Lisa Robinson knows how to talk — and how to make others, especially musicians, want to talk. The veteran rock journalist speaks with NPR's Wade Goodwyn about her four decades behind the scenes.
NPR

Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone?

The giant retailer says it's adding a new line of organic food that's at least 25 percent cheaper. But a large-scale production and supply of organic food likely can't be achieved overnight.
NPR

Obama Adds Malaysia To His Asia Itinerary

Obama travels to Malaysia next week, where the government is under fire for the handling of a missing airliner. NPR's Wade Goodwyn talks to Josh Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations.
NPR

Watch For The Blind Lets You Feel Time Passing

A new watch allows the blind to feel time on their wrists. Designer Hyungsoo Kim tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn his watch allows users to tell time accurately without revealing their disabilities.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.