OC’s Misleading Comments
As a property owner in Ocean City, I recently received my yearly calendar from Ocean City. I was not pleased when I read a statement in this calendar which is questionable in many ways. Not only was the following statement in the calendar, I followed the link found in the calendar and found exactly the same statement in the city’s web pages. The statement regarding the offshore wind turbines is as follows:
“… the foreign owned companies developing the projects further attempt to push these giant structures closer and closer to our beach.”
I have been following this story ever since it suddenly rose in 2017 shortly after the news that the Ocean City Mayor and Council were sending taxpayer money to a lobbyist named Bruce Bereano to discredit the offshore wind projects. In light of Mr. Bereano’s conviction several years earlier for felonies involving monetary improprieties, it was surprising to hear this. However, it turns out this was the tip of the iceberg. The Mayor and Council have spent a great deal of taxpayer money as is well documented in a letter to the editor by Jared Schablein published Feb. 18.
Now the statement that the companies are foreign owned is a bit xenophobic and meant to incite a certain type of person. However, given that foreign companies have been building offshore wind turbines for many, many years and US companies have not, I should certainly hope that professionals rather than amateurs are leading this effort. When I look at US Wind, I find that it is an American company headquartered in Baltimore. It is a subsidiary of an Italian company, but it’s generating jobs right here in Maryland. Given how many jobs in offshore wind are going to neighboring states because of Maryland’s hostile lobbyist driven attacks, I’m happy I can find this one example of Maryland winning some jobs from offshore wind development.
Another xenophobic statement that I’ve seen too often is that the turbines will be foreign made as well. General Electric will be making these turbines. They’ll be made in America by Americans unless the Mayor and Council manage to delay this economic windfall a few more years than they years they’ve already delayed it.
Now let’s examine the most dishonest part of the statement, the statement that the developers are pushing these projects “closer and closer to our beach.” The federal government chose the area where the turbines can be located about a decade ago and awarded the projects in 2014. The lease area hasn’t changed and the developers have no choice in pushing the turbines out farther, so they do the best they can. The Skipjack project is building at the farthest extent of their lease area. Everything I’ve read about US Wind’s plans including their own web pages says they are also building at the farthest extent of their area as well.
I have only found one reference that says otherwise and that is Mayor Meehan’s words from a Feb. 18 article in The Dispatch. The wording here is confusing: “…if they were the winners of the additional ORECs, the lease area would be about 12 miles off our coast”. In other words, if the US government gives them an additional lease area 12 miles off the shore, that’s where they’ll build. Well, of course, they’ll build where the government allows them to build. But that would be if they get an additional lease area that is only 12 miles off the shore, which would happen many years in the future and would need to go through years of regulatory approval. Mayor Meehan is either a little confused or is being intentionally misleading.
The only people telling them to ignore what the government tells them to do is Mayor Meehan and the Ocean City Council. He keeps telling the developers to build at 31 miles. That’s outside the lease area specified by the US government. He knows the developers won’t but he can paint them as the villain for people that are foolish enough to believe him.
Mayor Meehan has had several years now to comment and get the PSC to change the lease. The PSC is made up of knowledgeable people. They listened when the city asked them to come to Ocean City. But when the mayor and the eastern shore politicians made speeches full of disinformation, the PSC ignored the disinformation and made a ruling to continue. I don’t expect a change in the mayor’s approach. It’s popular with some people in his base but all it’s really doing is sending good jobs to adjacent states and ruining Maryland’s reputation for forward thinking and innovation.
Jessup and Ocean City
Commissioners Should Stick To County Matters
As the only male left on both sides of my family, I have inherited a small arsenal. I have shotguns of every gauge, rifles and more. My favorite isn’t a military weapon but a little .22 caliber pump that was once used for target shooting on the Ocean City Boardwalk. Believe it or not, the amusement arcades once used real guns.
I grew up hunting on Ayers Creek in Worcester County and have a keen appreciation of the county’s rural heritage, the preservation of which has been a concern of my family for several generations now.
Playing politics about guns, however, doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the competent administration of Worcester County or meaningful preservation of its heritage. And I wish that our elected officials would put their limited time and energies toward local matters over which they have actual responsibility rather than auditioning for a cameo on Fox News during commission meetings.
If some of our commissioners would like to create a spectacle about gun rights, I think that they, like the rest of us, can use personal time to reach out to national elected officials, the people who have actual competence in these matters. I’m pretty sure that they’ll find a sympathetic ear in Dr. Harris.
But let’s stay on the high road and keep the focus of Worcester County government on the county, and not partisan grandstanding about things over which the commissioners have no responsibility or control.