Bay Journal

Topics: Energy

Maryland denies permits for solar projects that sought to clear forests

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Maryland regulators have blocked two large solar power projects in Charles County that together would have cleared 400 acres of woodlands. Some environmentalists hailed the decisions while others lamented them, highlighting tensions in the state over the siting of renewable energy projects.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) announced Wednesday that it had denied a wetlands and waterways permit to put about 100,000 photovoltaic panels on a mostly wooded tract near La Plata that would have sold electricity to Georgetown University.

The MDE also declared that a second project planning about 80,000 more solar panels a few miles away did not meet the state’s requirements for protecting a high-quality stream flowing by that heavily forested site. T

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About Energy

Energy production has had a profound influence on the Chesapeake and its tributaries since European settlement. Settlers built thousands of dams across streams and rivers to provide power for mills and industry. More modern dams create hydroelectric power, but dramatically affect river ecosystems and close them to fish migration.

Combustion of fossil fuels is a major source of pollution to the Chesapeake, and activities such as drilling in the Marcellus Shale can affect stream health and permanently alter terrestrial habitats.

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