Visual Pollution Unacceptable
We who live or visit Ocean City are blessed with the natural beauty of the ocean horizon. We want to continue to see that beauty without it being marred by ugly wind turbines by day and the unnatural glow of high-intensity flashing red aircraft warning lights by night. How many have considered how the horizon’s natural beauty will be spoiled at night as well as by day?
The vast majority of us are strongly in favor of renewable energy and the reduction of dependence on fossil fuel; but we should not create visual pollution in order to create renewable energy.
We can have both renewable energy and no visual pollution if the Maryland General Assembly passes House Bill 1135/Senate Bill 1058 which requires that the wind turbines be at least 26 nautical miles offshore. Write to your Maryland Senate and House representatives to pass the bill.
If there cannot be amicable agreement on construction at least 26 nautical miles offshore, we need to start again with a new hearing with the Public Service Commission regarding this wind turbine project because there has been a considerable change in the size of the wind turbines from what was discussed six years ago. What was agreed on six years ago and what is being planned today is totally different.
Let’s assure that the natural beauty of the ocean horizon, both day and night, remains intact as seen from the tallest building in Ocean City.
Commission Wrong To Eliminate Testing
In 2012, residents of Caine Woods attempted to stop the expansion of the Delmarva Power substation located between 137th and 138th Streets in Ocean City. In spite of many sound arguments against the project, the power company was granted a conditional use to build the expansion. However, a condition was put in place that provided some measure of peace of mind for the residents, particularly those living in close proximity to the plant.
That condition called for independent testing of Electro-Magnetic field and noise levels emanating from the substation to be conducted twice a year, with the results sent to those property owners within 300 feet of the facility. At least, this requirement has provided some degree of assurance that the levels are reasonably safe and well under the recommended levels.
Just recently, the Planning & Zoning Commission by a narrow vote of 3 to 2, sent a favorable recommendation to the Mayor & City Council to eliminate the biannual testing requirement. This is wrong and unfair to the community. The City Council has the duty and responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents and visitors. Let us hope they carry out those duties and responsibilities by denying this recommendation.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.
Wind Farm Clarifications
(The following letter was addressed to Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan with a copy forwarded to this publication.)
I wish to clarify and correct a couple of key points that were highlighted in the recent article of The Dispatch regarding our project.
First, I wish to reaffirm our commitment to creating the jobs and economic development that our project is intended to deliver to Maryland’s economy. It will always be our priority to use Maryland companies and employ Maryland workers whenever and wherever possible.
With regard to our recent contract with Gulf Island Fabrication LLC, it was necessary to partner with this Louisiana firm given its highly-regarded expertise in fabricating the very specialized components required for our meteorological tower. Despite our first round of requests to Maryland companies, not only was Gulf Island Fabrication LLC the most competitive in its bid, but the firm was the only one able to meet the short timeline that we have established for this key component of our project.
I wish to emphasize that the PSC order that approved the US Wind project specifically requires the creation of over 3,500 “in-state” jobs for our project, something we are committed to doing. Just recently, as an example, we entered into a $1 million contract with Baltimore-based Maritime Applied Physics Corporation. As we have noted consistently, and in recent testimony before the Finance Committee of the Maryland General Assembly, out-of-state experts will be needed during these early stages of development.
But again, we will always explore, in the first place, Maryland-based options throughout the phases of our project. Moreover, as the offshore wind industry continues to grow in Maryland, the expertise and skills required will also continue to grow and become even more available.
Finally, I wish to correct the misstatement by Paul Rich regarding US Wind’s membership in the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce. It is not the case that we decided to discontinue our membership: actually the membership was already renewed when the inaccurate statement was released. I can assure you that we are eager to continue as members in good standing, and as good corporate citizens dedicated to the Ocean City community and the lower Eastern Shore region.
With this respect, we look forward to receive any feedback on the MOU draft that I sent you last Thursday, March 29. If you deem it useful, we would be glad to meet you during our next business trip in Maryland, on the week of April 9 to jointly discuss the document.
I trust that this letter of clarification is helpful and look forward to our next opportunity to engage and further discuss any concerns you and the members of the City Council have.
Most of us remember a person who seemed to go out of their way to help us during a difficult time in our life – a grandparent, special teacher, a stranger who became a friend. The recollections of these caring people remind us of the good within each of us and make up the communities we are part of. Nowhere will you find more compassionate people than the volunteers who serve with Coastal Hospice.
April 15-21 is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, a time to honor and celebrate the individuals that do so much for so many – particularly those hospice volunteers who accompany people during life’s final journey.
Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care has 172 active volunteers giving their time and talent to patients and families coping with life-limiting illness and loss. Whether a volunteer is serving at bedside, in the thrift shop, for the We Honor Veterans program, in the office, educating others, or raising awareness, they are at the heart of hospice. When visiting patients, our volunteers play games, read books, look through photo albums, listen to favorite stories, dress like Santa, drive to the store or barber shop, or go for a ride to the beach.
There are people who mistakenly think hospice is about giving up – it couldn’t be further from the truth. Hospice is about living as fully as possible, even at the end of life. At the center of hospice is the belief that each person has the right to die free of pain and with dignity, and that our families will receive the necessary support to allow us to do so.
Our volunteers at Coastal Hospice play an indispensable role in enabling us to offer the best possible care for our patients, their families and caregivers. I encourage everyone to learn more about hospice and our volunteer opportunities to help your neighbors by calling 410-742-8732 or by visiting CoastalHospice.org.
Coastal Hospice and Palliative Care