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Judge In Deep Blue Maryland Kills Wind Farm

Wind turbines used to generate electricity are seen at a wind farm in Guazhou, 950km (590 miles) northwest of Lanzhou, Gansu Province September 15, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

A proposed Maryland wind farm was effectively killed over the weekend by a utility law judge after already being rejected by local officials.

The Dan’s Mountain wind farm had previously been rejected by local officials, but went to the Maryland Public Service Commission to get construction permission. After permission to build the wind farm was denied in each step of the legal process, Dan’s Mountain went to the next level of government.

The judge rejected the proposal because the noise and shadow flickers from the wind turbines might affect the “aesthetic of local communities on and around Dan’s Mountain.”

One of most common complaints about wind turbines by people who live near turbines is that they cause “flickering” when the sun is behind their blades. This is generally agreed to be incredibly annoying and there’s evidence that it can cause headaches, sleep disorders and anxiety and depression symptoms in people who live nearby.

The company behind the Dan’s Mountain turbines predicted its wind farm would generate about $720,000 a year in property taxes for the local government over the next 20 years.

Local opposition to green energy projects in Democratic-leaning states and areas isn’t unique to Maryland.

Earlier this month, a town in the deep-blue state of Rhode Island halted a new solar power project for the next three months over safety and land use concerns. Residents of Tompkins County, New York have been fighting a planned wind farm which would power nearby Cornell University for the last 11 years.

Environmentalists are increasingly against wind power at the local level. Even in comparatively progressive places like Vermont or Great Britain, wind farms tend to be aggressively opposed by local residents.

Major environmental groups like the Center For Biological Diversity have a long history of pursuing legal action against “green” development, like wind turbines or solar farms, ironically, because it may encroach on animal habitats and kill tens of thousands of birds.

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Andrew Follett
the authorAndrew Follett
I hold a Master of Public Policy with a concentration in Science and Technology Policy from George Mason University, as well as a Bachelor of Science from the College of William & Mary, where I double-majored in Government and Geology and authored two theses. I have done research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. I have also worked as an analyst providing research and analytical support for the Department of Energy, the Office of Petroleum Reserves, NOAA, and FEMA.

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