A Visual Disgrace
I wonder if the knuckle draggers at City Hall have had the pleasure of seeing how wonderful the skyline looks now that the new and improved light poles have been installed on Coastal Highway.
The miss mosh of arms, some long, some short, some facing east, some facing west and one facing south is a disgrace to the engineering profession.
Who in their right mind designed this ridiculous arrangement? The city fathers and mothers are so worried about wind farms 18 to 26 miles offshore, but allow this travesty to be done to Coastal Highway. Where are their concerns as this is a disgrace? Reset the arms to be in conformity.
Wind Farms And Whales
As the proposed wind farm off Ocean City stalls with an esthetic debate on the project’s visual pollution, the real concern is the long-term impact on the marine ecosystem. The ocean is the only habitat for many animals on this planet and naturally regulates 50% of the Earth’s oxygen/carbon cycle.
First and foremost are whales, which migrate twice yearly through the corridor under consideration for industrial wind development. Whales are ecosystem engineers of excellent magnitude, sequestering thousands of tons of carbon in their lifetime. By consuming phytoplankton (the microbial life which converts CO2 into oxygen on the tropic level of the ocean), whales are essential are to the health for all of us. In total functionality, whales even add fertilizer to produce new plankton blooms though discharge of waste product, and the carbon cycles completes itself.
Furthermore, three whale species are under an emergency UME (Unusual Mortality Event) as directed by NOAA. The Right whale, Humpback and Minke whale, all have suffered higher than average mortality rates in the past several years. The Right whales, with no new calves born in 2017/2018, and 17 fatalities during the past year, are projected for extinction by 2040. With fewer than 450 in existence, the northern hemisphere Right whale (Western Atlantic), is frequently spotted off Delmarva, including a known foraging area at the mouth of the Delaware Bay.
One oversight organization, the Marine Mammal Commission (MMC.gov) should, under the auspices of the regulatory laws to protect whales, request a ten-year moratorium on any ocean industrial projects impacting traditional whale migratory routes. The MMC objective is to advise both federal agencies and lawmakers. By manifestation of The Antiquities Act of 1906, the Supreme Court has even ruled in the majority, protecting the environment for future generations. By saving whales, and providing them lawful protection, proliferation of the species will reduce and regulate carbon. By building smaller, more efficient energy grids of solar, combined with energy-saving homes and consuming less, the Delmarva community can achieve immediate goals of conservation. An urban ocean is unhealthy for all living creatures.
10 Reasons Not To Sign Wind Petitions
Here are the top 10 reasons why people should not sign the petition recently sponsored by the Town of Ocean City and advertised in their news cycle with the intention to extend the distance wind turbines will be off the coast of Maryland to beyond 26 miles:
•The offshore wind project as currently licensed has taken over nine years to get to this point where the project is ready to begin development. It is a well-developed plan that has considered all stakeholders in the process.
•The Ocean City Mayor and Council had known all along of the potential for the turbines to be seen in very clear weather, especially at sunrise. The first time Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan objected to the turbines within the beach “Viewshed” was just over one year ago, March 25th, 2017 at the Public Service Commission hearing at Stephen Decatur Middle School.
•The closest planned turbine would be 12.9 miles off the coast and the town engineers have consistently misrepresented the “viewshed” impact using inaccurate or deceptive renderings of turbine visibility from the beach using a distance that is closer to shore.
•Yes, offshore wind turbine technology has improved and yes, they are larger and produce more electricity (capable of 12 megawatts per turbine) This means fewer turbines and these can be in the already licensed areas that are 17 to 19 miles offshore making them far more difficult to see.
•The required planning and research to try to push these turbines to 26 miles offshore is expensive and time consuming. It has taken us 9 years to get this far! There are many federal agencies that comprise the regulatory framework in the licensing process. Including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, The Environmental protection Agency, The US Fish and Wildlife service, The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, The National Marine Minerals Program, The Department of The Interior, Maryland State Department of Natural Resources, the Federal Maritime Commission, The US Department of Transportation, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the International Maritime Organization all help in the determination of approved shipping lanes. Any comment by the Ocean City Mayor and Council that says that new leasing sites more than 26 miles offshore can be approved within the next two years should be disregarded. Not only would turbines that are 26 miles offshore be much more expensive, they are legally unfeasible.
•Both US Wind and Skipjack Wind, the two offshore wind providers who have bid on and purchased leases for the areas currently approved and licensed, have said any effort to kill the current lease areas and void their purchased leases will “Kill the Project”. They both stated that they would no longer be willing to bid on any future projects. They have already spent over $8 million to secure leases to the licensed areas offshore. A delegation of Eastern Shore and other State Representatives in Maryland already had their co-sponsored bills (HB 1135 and SB 1058) that promoted the effort to push the wind project further offshore was defeated by a 14-5 vote. Had these bills succeeded in the state economic matters committee it would have deleted the opportunity for a US Wind $1.4 billion investment, 3,500 direct jobs creation and establishment of an industrial epic-center of US offshore wind activity that would last for generations.
•Wind power is the fastest growing energy industry in the world! Jobs in wind turbine technology are also one of the fastest growing areas of employment in living wage jobs. The Ocean City area is guaranteed 60 jobs and there will be many more jobs in Salisbury and Baltimore in the manufacture and distribution of wind turbines and their components. With the addition of this many jobs, more visitors will have more discretionary income allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labor in Ocean City.
•Electricity produced by offshore wind will supply more than 750,000 homes and businesses on the Eastern shore. It will ensure a large-scale improvement of our already inadequate electrical grid here on the shore and avoid a surcharge to Maryland ratepayers for having to import electricity from out of state. This will allow continued economic growth for all the shore in the 21st century.
•The Town of Ocean City has hired one of the highest paid lobbyists in Maryland to lead their campaign against wind. The funding for his $100,000 fee is in question. Is this taxpayer money? Does it come from one of the many foundations funded by the oil industry lobby? Citizens have a right to know this. Leaders will tell you they are not against wind, they just say they don’t want the visual pollution they say it creates. Many consider banner planes and the floating electronic billboard to be a much greater source of visual pollution since in the summer they are seen daily from the beach. Only on the very clearest of days (no humidity or clouds) will the turbines be seen and only at sunrise when their profile like a match stick is seen on the horizon.
•Finally, and in the view of most people surveyed, the turbines are favorable for most respondents to surveys conducted. The town of Ocean city has virtually no hard data to prove their contention that these turbines will hurt rental income and real estate values. The opposite is true where the only turbines on the east coast are currently installed: Block Island in Rhode Island. They have experienced an increase in tourism! The fishing at the base of the turbines is great since they provide artificial reefs! The tour boat excursions to travel offshore to view the turbines have grown in popularity.
On the Chesapeake Bay side of the Delmarva some Eastern Shore coastline properties have already been taken off the tax map because of persistent flooding. Talk about loss of real estate value! Many realtors say Eastern Shore coastline properties are in their last 30-year mortgage cycle! This all occurs because of the continued increases of the level of CO2 (greenhouse gas) in our atmosphere worldwide. The only way to take control of this is to immediately stop all new fossil fuel projects now and move immediately to clean, renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, tidal and geothermal! The three-feet sea level rise by 2100 is baked in. We need to convert now to these renewables to avoid the much further calamitous and catastrophic sea level rise of 9 to 12 feet in the same period. Please join me and many others who sponsored the Citizens Forum on Renewable Energy in Ocean City on March 3 of this year. You can find out more on these critical issues from The Environmental Action Network of Delmarva (TEAM) by going to “Action Network” and searching TEAM. Come support wind turbines at the “Wonders of the Wind” Art show. May 12 5-7 p.m. at St. Peters Lutheran Church on 10301 Coastal Hwy. in Ocean City.
Larry “Austin” Ryan