Wind Power Not Worth Horizon Degradation
This summer, as I stroll on the beach in the evening with my grandkids, I’ll tell them to take a good long look at the unspoiled eastern horizon. If the big wind companies have their way, that view may soon be sprinkled with many dozens of blinking red lights.
I was taken aback by a recent letter in this paper asserting that sea levels could rise nine to 12 feet by 2100 unless the ocean is cluttered with giant industrial machines.
I am an environmental consultant who has been doing tidal studies along the mid-Atlantic coast for nearly three decades. The actual average rise of sea levels at Ocean City is about five mm/year, which works out to about two inches a decade, according to NOAA. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Just do a Google search for NOAA, Tides And Currents, Sea Levels, Ocean City Inlet.
And guess what, NOAA also finds that sea levels along parts of the Jersey Shore are dropping, not rising. Why? My geologist friends tell me that it’s because the Delmarva peninsula has been slowly sinking since the last Ice Age, while parts of Jersey are rising. Nobody knows how much of this small sea level rise is due to land subsidence or the ocean rising, but we do know that annual global sea level rise is about one eighth of an inch.
Don’t run for the lifeboats just yet.
This kind of misinformation is nothing new. It’s the same tired tactics that these big companies and their political allies always use to frighten the public into financing their schemes.
The letter also touted the 60 jobs to be created. Ha. Give any company a couple billion dollars of taxpayer money and watch how many jobs they can create. If anyone thinks this is a workable economic model, they should visit Cuba or Venezuela.
I understand the motivation of well-meaning people to “do something” about the threat they see in unfettered use of fossil fuels, but before we commit to ruining our viewshed, perhaps we should think hard about such a radical alteration of one of the things that gives Ocean City such a unique appeal. If wind farms will provide such fabulous benefits as the companies espouse, surely it will not hurt to move them further offshore.
Wind power is notoriously inefficient and will have much less reduction in fossil fuel use than energy conservation, clean-burning natural gas, or solar, all of which have less impact on the environment.
Besides preserving our viewshed, as the Park Service has done for Assateague, moving these giant bird-killing machines further offshore may lessen the devastation to wildlife in the Atlantic Migratory Flyway.
So folks, take a good long look at the unspoiled eastern horizon this summer. It may well be degraded forever.
As for me, if I wanted to see more blinking red lights, I’d spend more time sitting in Coastal Highway traffic.
Full Audit Needed On Education Funding
(The following letter was sent to the Worcester County Commissioners in advance of the May 1 budget public hearing in Snow Hill.)
I have been to many public hearings in the last 35 years. I thought I would offer my comments for this upcoming hearing of May 1 in this email format. I have always commented on how population growth leads to infrastructure loading which always leads to higher taxes. I advocated for the preservation of our agricultural zones preventing large developments from being built. You commissioners have done a good job in this endeavor as have your predecessors since 1982. However, Worcester County’s population has grown tremendously since this time as have our tax bills. What has been done is done and please continue to work hard to maintain our rural environment and preserve our agricultural zones.
The last time I checked, 52% of our property taxes goes to our public schools. Every May school personnel will pour into the auditorium and want an increase in funding, as they have done these many years. What frustrates me is the fact that there is no accounting for where all these millions of dollars are spent on.
I would like for you commissioners to consider demanding a full accounting of how the money we award the Board of Education is spent. You will then be able to scrutinize the allocations and look for better ways to spend the money, eliminate waste, and, perhaps, lessen our tax burden.
Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns.
Dennis W Evans
Harris Urged To End Shark Fin Trade
One of the greatest threats to sharks worldwide is finning, the wasteful and inhumane practice in which a shark’s fins are cut off and the body is discarded. While shark finning is illegal in American waters, the sale and trade of shark fins is not, which perpetuates a global shark fin trade that kills up to 73 million sharks per year.
A federal ban on the trade of shark fins would remove the United States from the international fin trade, improve enforcement of the current finning ban, and reinforce the status of the United States as a leader in shark conservation.
Nearly one in four species of sharks and their relatives are threatened with extinction, including several species that inhabit Maryland’s coast. Our local community relies on tourism and fishing as a primary economic driver., Without having these sharks at the top of the marine food chain to regulate fish population, both our local fishing and tourism industries would be damaged from the environmental impacts. The same can be said for regions around the globe. These apex predators are key players in the health of the world’s oceans.
Representative Harris will soon vote on H.R. 1456, the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act, which would ban the trade of shark fins in the United States. Representative Harris, I urge you to vote for H.R. 1456 – it’s our best chance at fighting the global shark fin trade and protecting sharks from this inhumane practice.
(The writer is currently a marine biology undergraduate student at Coastal Carolina University.)
Hospice Benefit Thanks
Fine food, perfectly paired wine, rock and roll, passionate people and a view of the Atlantic Ocean – these elements marked the record-setting fundraiser event, Taste of Finer Things, for the campaign to build the Macky and Pam Stansell House of Coastal Hospice at the Ocean.
More than 243 supporters celebrated at the Harrison’s Harbor Watch Restaurant in Ocean City and helped raise over $34,000 to support the Stansell House. Our new hospice residence is expected to open in early 2019.
Fundraising events such as Taste of Finer Things are an important piece to supporting the services of Coastal Hospice as the events provide an opportunity for the community to be a part of our efforts to better aid our neighbors with their end of life journey.
We are especially grateful for our volunteer committee members who spent countless hours planning and hosting this important event including Macky Stansell, Stephanie Meehan, Pam Buckley, Karen Cramer, Cathy Donovan, Madalaine How, Marsha Howarth, Elaine Jacobs, Donna Leiner and Gayle Widdowson.
We sincerely appreciate the restaurants that brought their creative culinary talents to the event including: Atlantic Hotel, Barn 34, Captain’s Table, Crabs to Go, Desserts by Rita, Embers/Blu, Harrison’s Harbor Watch, Hooked, Macky’s Bayside Bar & Grill, OC Wasabi, Seacrets, Sunset Grille, Sweet Disposition, Touch of Italy and Wockenfuss. We also thank our sponsors for making this event possible including Whiting-Turner, The Hobbit Restaurant, The Bonfire, and Cullen M. Burke Esq.
The generosity of our community is inspiring.
Alane K. Capen
(The writer is president of Coastal Hospice & Palliative Care.)