Maryland wind farm developers are now batting two for two – two projects started – two projects halted for environmental violations.
Thanks to Matia Vanderbilt of Save Western Maryland for pointing us to the Baltimore Sun article: Erosion violations halt Garrett County wind project
Seems this time the Maryland Department of the Environment ordered Synergics Wind Energy and its contractor, White Construction, to stop work until they fix all the shortcomings in their measures to prevent mud from washing off the building site into nearby streams.
You have to chuckle at the comments of Frank Maisano, a spokesman for Synergics Wind Energy. Emailing it in from another planet he noted the obvious as an attempt to minimize their failure saying, “the complaint came from opponents to the two wind projects being built on Backbone Mountain.” Well, that certainly makes the issue less important than if say, one of your own people reported the problem.
He went on to say that “there have been no negative environmental impacts” from the faulty erosion controls.” Well heck! Why then do we have the stupid regulations in the first place? How about if we just lift the environmental protection controls all together. After all, we can trust developers, can’t we?
Mr. Maisano said in his email that, “We expect the contractor will resolve the state’s issues … ” The contractor, Mr. Maisano? Your gang is in charge, responsible and liable for the project. Don’t try to make the contractor seem like some disjointed entity that just happened to show up at your construction site and start working. You hired them and they’re yours. Whatever they do, you do! Get it?
Best of all, Mr. Maisano provides the real reason we should trust these folks. Remember he mentioned above that the contractor will resolve the state’s issues? He followed that with this gem, “and continue construction very soon.” Continue very soon, Frank? According to the article “follow-up inspections on Aug. 9 and 17 found the companies had not completed all the erosion controls, the MDE spokesman said in an e-mail. When inspectors returned again Tuesday, they found the remedies still not complete, Apperson said, but they also found that more ground had been excavated for turbines — contrary to what the companies had agreed to. So inspectors advised a full shutdown of all construction work, and followed up with an official order the next day.” They never stopped working, Frank! Even after being asked to do so and agreeing to do so.
Oh yeah! We can trust wind developers to hold to their word. Next thing you know they’ll be promising us they will protect the environment and even seek Fish and Wildlife incidental take permits. See! What’s not to trust?
Well, at least the MDE investigated and the inspectors certainly seem to be doing their part to control these folks. That is not always the case. Actually, it might be a good time to reflect on the commentary of Art and Pam Dodds, carried here not long ago: Industrial wind’s rubber stamp? “Rather than being effective regulatory agencies, the state authorities have simply opted to be the permitting agencies.”
Yes, Maryland wind developers may batting 2 for 2, but in this case it’s not a 1000%.