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Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will solicit public input from Jan. 23, 2008, to Feb. 23, 2008, to help guide the development of a state policy governing the use of public lands to host wind power turbines and related infrastructure. The public process is being initiated in part in response to recent private requests to lease property in Savage River State Forest.

US Wind Force is proposing to build a 40 MW, 24-turbine wind farm on about 1,000 acres of land that has been timbered and mined for coal, according to the company.

"Maryland is committed to developing clean, renewable energy sources that support a healthy environment," says John R. Griffin, DNR secretary. "However, our public lands belong to Maryland's citizens, and it is critical they have a voice in a decision-making process that could forever change our rural landscape."

Two meetings - one in Western Maryland and one in Annapolis - will be held to provide general information on wind energy and to obtain opinions and suggestions regarding the use of Maryland's public lands. Comments will also be accepted online.

During the public process, DNR will reach out to state and local elected officials, the Savage River Forest Advisory Committee and other stakeholders for input.

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