Wrong To Ignore Petition
(The following was an open letter to the Ocean City Mayor and Council.)
First, thank you for dedicating your time and talent to serving the Town of Ocean City and all Ocean City residents. The positive things you do are much appreciated.
I am writing to address my dissatisfaction and the dissatisfaction of many others with the handling of certain aspects of the planned Margaritaville Resort. There’s absolutely no reason to give town assets and/or property away to attract any new business. Specifically, I recently signed the petition initiated by Margaret Pillas with over 800 other Town of Ocean City registered voters stating that we are against the ordinance the council previously passed to give away part of Baltimore Avenue to the developers of the Margaritaville resort.
As I understand it, the council is going to ignore the petition and the statement that the registered voters made in the petition (not to give away any part of Baltimore Avenue to the developers of Margaritaville) and present a new ordinance. Apparently, the new ordinance will not only give away Town of Ocean City land to the developers of Margaritaville, but to other businesses and landowners along Baltimore Avenue. There’s no reason to give away one square inch of the town of Ocean City to anyone. We have a beautiful beach town here. If new businesses, hotels or resorts can’t come to town and build within existing building code guidelines and zoning ordinances, then they need to adjust their architectural plans to fit the property they have purchased.
Please remember that you were elected by the voters into office. You can ignore this matter now, but if you do, don’t expect to be re-elected.
Laurie H. Brucki
I am writing to thank Berlin-area residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.
Generosity throughout contributed to a successful shoebox gift collection season at drop-off locations for the Samaritan’s Purse project Operation Christmas Child. Across the U.S., the project collected over 9.3 million shoebox gifts in 2022. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2022, the ministry is now sending nearly 10.6 million shoebox gifts to children worldwide.
Through shoeboxes — packed with fun toys, school supplies, and hygiene items — Berlin-area volunteers brought joy to children in need around the world. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Through the continued generosity of donors since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 209 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 170 countries and territories. This year, Samaritan’s Purse delivered its milestone 200 millionth shoebox, which was packed on a country-wide tour and then hand-delivered to a young girl in Ukraine.
Across Maryland, shoebox packers often shop for deals on shoebox items throughout the year, and many serve at a deeper level by becoming a year-round volunteer. Information about ways area participants can get involved year-round can also be found at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling 410-772-7360.
Although local drop off locations for gifts are closed until Nov. 13-20, 2023, anyone can still be a part of this life-changing project by conveniently packing a shoebox gift online in just a few simple clicks at samaritanspurse.org/buildonline.
These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.
(The writer is the media relations specialist for Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child.)
Wind Claims Off Base
Congressman Andy Harris has represented the Eastern Shore in Congress for the last 12 years. Despite the fact he is a lifelong resident of the Western Shore, he has spent his time in office desperately trying to prevent the good paying jobs and economic development of offshore wind from coming to our region.
Since the announcement of Maryland’s two offshore wind projects, Skipjack Wind & MarWin, Congressman Harris has continuously & knowingly spread misinformation about the offshore wind industry. In 2019, he unfoundedly claimed offshore wind would be a national security risk. Today, Congressman Harris is claiming that offshore wind is responsible for a dead whale washing up on Assateague Island recently.
We know Congressman Andy Harris is lying about offshore wind being responsible for the whale death because the local company building the project, Ørsted is not currently conducting offshore survey activity for Skipjack Wind. Ørsted-contracted vessels concluded surveys off the coast in the Spring of 2022 and did not experience any marine mammal strikes during their activities.
Not only that, but it is well established that the offshore wind industry is subjected to the most stringent level of protections for marine mammals and protected species. Every aspect of Off-Shore Wind surveying, construction, and operations are reviewed by multiple agencies and subject to protective conditions, including vessel speeds, time of year restrictions for construction activities, and mandatory protected species observers.
It is so well regulated and protected that the deputy chief for permits and conservation with NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources Benjamin Laws said, “I want to be unambiguous: There is no information supporting that any of the equipment used in support of offshore wind development could directly lead to the death of a whale.”
The truth is that in no case has a whale been proved to have been killed by offshore wind activity. It is time for Congressman Andy Harris and his allies to stop lying about Off-Shore Wind and support this amazing economic opportunity this industry is bringing to the Shore. Local Progressives are committed to continuing our steadfast support for offshore wind because these projects will fight the climate crisis, establish local energy sources, and raise our area out of poverty with good paying jobs.
(The writer is the chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.)
Facts On Offshore Wind
Here are some critical facts regarding offshore wind projects and the safety of whales.
Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and independent academic institutions have all stated that there is “no evidence” that offshore wind vessels caused any whale mortalities.
Off the Maryland-Delaware coast, offshore wind companies finished their geophysical surveys at sea nearly a year ago with no marine mammal incidents. Their vessels include protected species observers who watch for whales and other protected species and halt work when they are in the area.
Whale mortalities are also occurring in North Carolina, Florida, Oregon, and California – states that have no offshore wind projects at all. In fact, the fourth whale to wash ashore on the West Coast was found two Sundays ago.
Marine mammals do face severe threats. NOAA has stated that entanglements in commercial fishing gear – not offshore wind – are the primary cause of North Atlantic right whale mortalities. Whales are also known to be moving closer to commercial shipping lanes in pursuit of another food source, menhaden, which puts them at greater risk of encountering commercial cargo ships.
The foremost threat is ocean acidification caused by a changing climate. Ocean acidification is associated with a 50% drop in the krill populations that are a critical whale food source.
Transitioning to clean energy sources like offshore wind enables us to reduce our dependence on the fossil fuels that acidify our oceans.
Whales deserve our protection but protecting them can only happen if we have a clear understanding of the facts and the actual threats they face. Only then can we all work together toward sensible solutions.
(The writer is the executive director of the Offshore Wind Alliance.)