Sierra Club Misses Mark On Wind Farm
I applaud the good intentions of the Sierra Club as laid out in its recent letter advocating the placing of wind farms off our coast to help with reducing atmospheric CO2. Trouble is, their zeal is misplaced, and the construction of these high-maintenance machines in the ocean will do more harm than good.
Decades of data from NOAA stations along the coast show a steady sea level rise of about one eighth of an inch per year.
There is no need to panic, and there is time to get this right.
Do we really want to clutter the ocean with giant bird-killing turbines erected in the Atlantic Migratory Flyway? Do we want to disrupt marine life?
Do we want to spoil our views with towers that may be only smudges when seen from the beach, but will stick out like sore thumbs when seen from condo balconies?
Do we want the nighttime horizon full of blinking red lights? Is there no place safe from man-made clutter?
Do we want higher taxes and utility bills to subsidize foreign companies and enrich their slick lobbyists?
No thanks. There are better solutions.
Using less energy is an obvious answer. In transportation, utilities, and building, there continues to be dramatic reductions in energy demands. New construction codes result in buildings that use much less power.
A good example of energy conservation is the new Berlin Public Library. This building was designed to last for decades with minimal maintenance, and, best of all, it uses half the energy than similarly-sized buildings built just a few year ago.
It’s also a beautiful building. Everyone should visit and see for themselves what energy conservation looks like.
What else can we do?
Plant trees. Sounds simple, but it works.
In the distant past the earth was a hot and dry place, with atmospheric CO2 levels several times greater than today. As plant life took off; trees evolved using CO2 as fuel and the atmosphere cooled.
Trees remove a lot of carbon from the atmosphere. When they die and are consumed by microbes, the carbon is stored in soil. Scientists estimate that soils contain twice as much carbon as all of earth’s plant life and atmosphere combined.
Trees provide habitat for birds and all sorts of critters, and of course they are lovely.
The Nature Conservancy, the Lower Shore Land Trust, and Worcester County’s conservation easement program are all working with landowners to turn more fields into forests. Environmental regulations encourage the planting of trees, and the Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation mandating the planting of five million trees by 2031, which is certainly a more efficient use of our tax dollars than subsidizing offshore wind farms. Trees need no maintenance.
The Sierra Club supports conservation, solar power, and the planting of trees, but I hope they ditch their misguided efforts on behalf of the wind industry. There is simply no need to degrade our environment — and our viewshed – by putting industrial junk in the ocean.
Vigilante Approach Wrong
(The following letter was sent to Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli with a copy forwarded to this newspaper for publication.)
I believe I voted for you when you ran in the last election. It won’t happen again if you persist in trying to declare Worcester County a sanctuary county. You have sworn an oath to abide by the laws of Maryland and by your support of sanctuary for gun control, you would not be abiding by that oath. You would be breaking Maryland law, worse you are encouraging others to do the same. I do not recall you saying when you were elected that you were only going to represent those people with guns. If you had, I certainly would not have voted for you. Since it is only your declaration, and not county policy, it is basically for show only. Why ? I do not understand what your purpose is for even pressing for this policy.
Considering the lack of trust people have in law enforcement today, this is a bad precedent. If you can determine that you are not going to enforce any gun control laws that are put forth by the Maryland legislature, what other laws can you decide that you are not going to enforce or respect? You are in essence becoming a vigilante. I truly hope you rethink your position on this matter.
Turbines A No-Win Option
Just turn the calendar page to a new month and there’s another oblivious opinion hawking the marvels of wind farms off the OC coast.
This month’s contribution begins with an apples and oranges comparison of wind farms to fishing boats, aerial and boat advertising, parasailing, etc. Sorry, but juxtaposing a proven failed energy scam to the lifeblood of Ocean City (tourism, commerce, fishing, etc.) is laughable.
And yes, they are visible at 15 miles. Especially at night, when blinking red lights would ruin those coveted full “Moon River” nights.
The writer is correct in stating that wind turbines produce zero greenhouse gases. But like every wind energy advocate, she is completely clueless as to the exorbitant amount of fossil fuels necessary to manufacture, transport (from abroad), install, maintain and repair just one wind turbine.
Fact: They need to run continuously for 50 years (three times their average life) just to pay for the cost to manufacture and install them. Again, all involving more fossil fuel consumption.
And while we’re all concerned about acid rain and the environment in general, don’t forget that the 60 gallons of oil required to lubricate one turbine often ends up in the ocean. Add to that thousands of bird deaths and the disruption of the feeding and nursing grounds of fish and it’s just not worth it.
Most interesting is the comment about St. Louis Avenue flooding during high tides. News alert: St. Louis Avenue has been flooding since it was dedicated and will continue to flood periodically even if thousands of wind turbines are installed at any range. And high tide flooding in this area only occurs in tandem with a random major storm.
The countless oblique negatives involved with wind turbines makes them a no-win option. There are many alternatives; geothermal, solar, natural gas, biofuels, to name just a few.
Partnership Carries Potential
I was very happy to see an article regarding the meeting with the El Salvador Ambassador representative and Ocean City officials concerning our labor shortage.
I’ve been seeing help wanted signs all over the area and I realize that the J-1 Visa program will not be happening this year however, I thought why can’t we hire folks from our neighboring Central American countries?
The U.S. depends on seasonal workers for agricultural production every year so why couldn’t it be the same for the hospitality industry? From the article it seems that the visit went very well, however one citizen raised a concern about hiring people from those countries. Why would that be a problem? They can pick our crops but not wait on people? That was disheartening, however, it seems that overall reception of this idea was positive.
Unfortunately, it seems that it cannot happen this season. But hopefully it will open an avenue for employment of these H2-B visa holders next year. I worked in human resources for 35 years in the hi-tech industry and we relied heavily on the H1-B visa program to fill positions for highly qualified and educated personnel. It is time to think globally in all areas of recruitment for workers here in our popular resort area.
Support For Legislation
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit last year, it forced a lot of people out of work. That was especially the case for dialysis patients like me, as our kidney disease means we’re at a higher risk for getting seriously sick if we get COVID-19, and we’ve had to take extra steps to stay safe.
While I’m looking forward to returning to work, doing so means I will lose some of the coverage I have that covers what Medicare doesn’t. Unless I can get that “Medigap” coverage, I and other dialysis patients in my situation will be stuck paying significant out of pocket costs that we may not be able to afford.
That’s why I’m happy to see members of Congress working on the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act, which will open up Medigap coverage to dialysis patients under 65. Doing that would help put patients at ease and make life-saving treatments more accessible.
Like so many other patients, I want to be as productive as I can for a long time while also being there for my grandkids, and the best way to make sure I can is for lawmakers to help pass bills like this.
Everyone should be able to afford the care they need. By supporting bills like the Jack Reynolds Memorial Medigap Expansion Act and the BETTER Kidney Care Act, Maryland’s elected officials like Representatives Anthony G. Brown, Kweisi Mfume and others can help to make that possible.
(The writer is a member of the Board of Directors of Dialysis Patient Citizens.)