Wind Project Raises Serious Health, Safety Concerns

Letter from Licensed Engineer Harvey A. Kagan published in The Baltimore Sun, 6th December, 2014

Andy Bowman’s recent commentary regarding his company’s wind power project in Somerset County does not represent the view from the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay (“Politics, not safety concerns, hamper Eastern Shore wind project,” Dec. 1).

In July, under pressure from Pioneer Green and its lobbyists, the Somerset County Commissioners gave the county’s planning board 60 days to finalize the draft wind ordinance written in 2012. During the public hearings held this past summer, a divisive debate went on between the few large landowners who will profit from leases and ordinary citizens who will be affected by the wind turbines.

Pioneer Green’s operatives in Somerset County were constantly dismissive of health and safety concerns raised by local medical and scientific experts during public hearings. The experts pleaded with the board to establish safe setback distances for the wind turbines from residences, schools and health centers and to establish appropriate noise level restrictions.

At the end of the hearings, Dr. Mary Fleury, a 30-year family practitioner in the county, the board’s chair and deputy health officer for the county, resigned her position from the planning board because she felt the other members were not dealing with the health issues.

Mr. Bowman makes unproven claims that Somerset County and leaseholders will lose millions of dollars if the project is not built. Interestingly, leaseholder agreements contain non-disclosure clauses and none have ever been made public. Except for dump truck operators, few jobs will be created in Somerset County by either the construction or maintenance of the wind turbines. The materials and labor will come from out of county and from out of state.

Pioneer Green does not design or construct wind turbines. It will sell the development rights and will be long gone before any are built, leaving the resulting health, safety and environmental problems in the hands of leaseholders, county residents and attorneys. Somerset County will be poorer for the project, not richer.

Harvey A. Kagan, Princess Anne

The writer is a licensed professional engineer.

Source: The Baltimore Sun