Cumberland Times-News

Local News

April 7, 2013

PSC hears from both sides on Fourmile wind project

CUMBERLAND — A petition to the Garrett County Board of Commissioners in support of the proposed Fourmile Ridge wind project has grown from 94 signatures to 127 signatures, according to a Maryland Public Service Commission filing.

“This project’s approval would lay the groundwork for a definitive environmental awareness in Garrett County and also support our most important industries, including health care and education, with extra tax dollars,” states the petition.    

There aren’t any houses within a half-mile radius of this project, according to the petition.   

The PSC held a hearing in March in regard to Fourmile Wind Energy LLC’s request for an exemption from a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and Synergics’ and Fourmile Wind Energy’s request to waive the certificate requirements for a tap loop line to serve the project.

The PSC received nine letters in support of the project and seven letters in opposition. The PSC also received 89 postcards from residents in support of the project. Comments on the certificate exemption and waiver were due by March 19.

“Supporting this project is the best way to ensure our community’s economic future, provides needed construction and permanent jobs, tax incentives to Garrett County and preserves the legacy of our local farmland,” states one postcard.   

Some of those opposed to the proposed wind project voiced their concerns about environmental impacts and the Federal Aviation Adminstration’s interim determination not to approve the construction of 24 wind turbines because they are a hazard to air navigation.

A major portion — 75 percent — of the proposed project in eastern Garrett County is in the state’s designated “sensitive areas” as having rare, threatened and endangered species.

“We are troubled by the fact that the Fourmile Wind Energy, LLC project lies entirely within the watershed on two ridgelines,” read a letter from the Savage River Watershed Association Board of Directors to David Collins, executive secretary of the PSC.

During the public hearing, Matt Brewer, a partner for Bennet Brewer and Associates of Frostburg, the engineer of record for the project, said the project “will result in zero wetland impact.”

The Savage River watershed group noted that the interests and concerns of the public haven’t been fully addressed by Synergics, the developer. The letter further noted that the visual and noise pollution will affect the recreational experience of hunters on nearby private and public lands as well as hikers and bird watchers on the Big Savage Hiking Trail.

The association voiced its opposition of the proposed wind project, asked that the waiver be denied and requested a full certificate to be completed.

“As part of this licensing process, the applicant should address the full range of environmental, engineering, socioeconomic, planning and cost issues including a full environmental review document that presents the applicant’s environmental and socioeconomic studies conducted in support of the application,” writes the SRWA.

Glenn, Eddie, Gary and Jimmy Sisler, who are being represented by Matthew Yanni of The Yanni Law Firm in Martinsburg, W.Va., requested the certificate exemption be given and indicated that the project would have a minimal environmental impact.

“We are requesting an exemption because we desire that this project move forward as expeditiously as possible,” wrote Yanni, on behalf of the Sisler family, in a letter to Collins.

The exemption would put the proposed Fourmile Wind project on the fast track for PSC approval with construction slated for spring.

There are four to six wind turbines proposed on the Sislers’ 200-acre tract located on Fourmile Ridge. The Sisler family is in the timbering business.

“Due to the recent economic and environmental issues we have faced, this is an excellent time for us to transition into a clean-energy future,” wrote Yanni.

Former Garrett County resident Jim Braskey, who is a part owner of Allegany/Garrett Titles & Settlements, LLC, Frostburg, voiced his support for the wind project in a letter to Terry Romine, chief public utility law judge.

“There are many residents of Garrett County that don’t have anything but the land that they own. To deny them the right to use their land as an income source, because of restrictive regulations, leaves many with nothing,” wrote Braskey, a paralegal with Geppert McMullen, Paye & Getty, a Cumberland-based law firm with a branch office located in Grantsville.

The proposed project would be constructed in two arrays with an eastern array located on the west side of Big Savage Mountain and the western array located on Fourmile Ridge, according to Brewer. The proposed project is a mile west of the Allegany/Garrett county border.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at

Text Only
Local News
  • Overturned tanker upsets Oakland Overturned tanker upsets Oakland

    OAKLAND — Two large commercial wreckers were being used at mid-afternoon Wednesday to upright a tanker full of liquid propane that overturned several hours earlier in downtown Oakland and forced evacuation of the business district.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CODY EVERSOLE Eversole named 2014 Kelley Award winner

    KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser High School senior Cody Eversole was named this year’s J. Edward Kelley Award winner during a ceremony Wednesday morning at Potomac State College.
    The award is presented to an outstanding male student-athlete in each year’s senior class.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire South Cumberland home rebuilt after fire

    CUMBERLAND — A South Cumberland home destroyed by fire last July was given a second chance recently after the owner decided he wanted to remain a part of the neighborhood and had his house rebuilt.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mineral BOE gives $18K to library

    KEYSER, W.Va. — The Mineral County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to give the Keyser-Mineral County Public Library $18,000 for fiscal 2015 and to give the Piedmont library an additional $1,000 out of carryover funds.

    April 16, 2014

  • The Eichhorn family Local family says hosting New York City children in summer is ‘wonderful experience’

    CUMBERLAND — Sonya and Christopher Morgan of Cumberland always planned on a hosting a child through The Fresh Air Fund Volunteer Host Family Program. “Christopher always said once we had kids of our own we were going to do it. When our son turned 6 we said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” said Sonya.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • City, county officials to talk baseball at work session

    CUMBERLAND — During today’s Allegany County Commission work session, a proposal to study the possibility of bringing a professional-level baseball team to the area will be vetted again, this time with participants from the city of Cumberland.

    April 16, 2014

  • Report: High-quality child care lacking in West Virginia

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Child care programs of minimum or unrated quality are watching over about 93 percent of West Virginia children enrolled in them, a report released Wednesday said.

    April 16, 2014

  • JIM HINEBAUGH Hinebaugh seeks Garrett County commissioner post

    Jim Hinebaugh recently announced his candidacy for Garrett County commissioner. A Garrett County native and lifelong Republican, Hinebaugh graduated from Southern High School and attended Frostburg State University before entering the U.S. Army via the draft. After serving as an enlisted member, Hinebaugh completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He retired as a colonel/06 in 1995 with almost 29 years of service including eight years overseas.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Brief - 04/17

    April 16, 2014

Must Read
News related video
Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Raw: Urinator Causes Portland to Flush Reservoir Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Obama, Biden Announce $600M for Job Grants Miley Cyrus Still in Hospital, Cancels 2nd Show New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Boston Officials: No Bags at Marathon Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing