Democratic process lacking in Howard Co.
When residents showed up at a Howard County Council meeting recently to discuss the tax abatement being given to a wind farm developer, it was reported they were there to “speak out against wind energy.” I beg to differ. It was about democracy, or lack thereof.
Residents had witnessed democracy in action just a few months prior in Grant County, where the county council there purposely denied a motion to approve an amended economic development agreement for the foreign company, E.ON Climate & Renewables. Those in attendance heard of the “misleading” statements made to officials by E.ON concerning matters of health and safety, as well as issues the company failed to mention altogether. They listened as one council member correctly stated they were there to “serve the will of the people” and his job was to represent that in all his decisions, including this industrial wind turbine project.
Making note of the more than 2,200 signatures against this wind farm, he was firmly against renewing the previously approved tax abatement, and after two consecutive requests by E.ON the matter died for lack of a motion. The tax abatement was not approved in this new amended EDA. It blew away.
This was the topic residents brought to the Howard County Council on April 22. They spoke courteously yet emotionally about how they felt toward the entire process that brought them there that day. And I believe the majority of the Howard County council members truly wished this entire wind farm matter would “just blow away” here as well (pun intended).
I remember learning about democracy in school. I thought of it many times during this whole affair. I thought of it when I read that large-scale industrial wind turbines were allowed as “permitted use” in the current Howard County ordinances dealing with agricultural/rural residential areas, even though home construction was still allowed only by “special exception.” Does this seem wrong to anyone else?