Commissioners Wrong On Diakonia Decision
I was incredibly disappointed by the Commissioners recent vote to effectively delay the expansion of Diakonia.
Its mission is second to none and represents what I believe to be the finest quality of the people of Worcester County — when there is tragedy, adversity, or loss, this community comes together to help those in need like no other.
I hope the four Commissioners, who saw fit to delay this project, will have a change of heart, follow in the footsteps of this generous and compassionate community, and vote with great haste to get Diakonia’s project moving.
Edward M Reid
BOEM Must Stop Wind Farms
I attended the hearing that our Congressman Andy Harris held at the Ocean City Convention Center on Jan. 22 in reference to the wind farm projects that our government agency BOEM is planning for our oceans in our country and also right here in Maryland and Delaware.
From the information that was presented at the hearing, nine panelists shared their comments and information. US Wind was asked to attend but they were not in attendance at this hearing
What was shared is this:
- The wind farm projects are not an economical thing to pursue. The extremely high cost of this project is not going to be a less expensive way to supply our energy needs. We, as consumers, do not need to incur another increase in our cost of living.
- These wind turbines will interfere with our National Security pertaining to sonar/radar detection used by our military. We cannot jeopardize the security of our country this way.
- The exploration, construction, and operation of these wind turbines has been, and will be very detrimental to all our marine life. Many problems have been created by the construction and operation of these wind turbines. Example: Horseshoe crabs, whales, and many forms of other shellfish/fish population. We cannot let the life in our ocean be destroyed by this project. This will be harmful to our fishing and seafood job market and food supply. This is not acceptable.
The companies that are building these wind farms are not even American owned.
I have contacted BOEM to please open their eyes, ears, and minds and asked them to put a stop to what they are doing to our oceans and our country.
I am asking our community to please contact Andy Harris and our government to voice your opinions and make it known that we do not need wind farms in our oceans.
Wind Farm Hearing Thoughts
I attended hearings this past Saturday at the Ocean City Convention Center calling for a halt to all offshore wind power projects amid a spate of whale deaths on the U.S. East Coast in what may be the beginning of an investigation by the GOP-controlled House into the Biden administration’s clean energy plans.
I hope The Dispatch was there to report on this important issue.
Congressman Andy Harris was the speaker with Reps. Jeff Van Drew and Christopher Smith of New Jersey present and giving testimony for the panel.
Our local Sen. Mary Beth Carozza-District 38, Wayne Hartman-District 38c and Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan attended and provided their strong opposition to the US Wind project.
There was also a panel of six experts including scientific and financial experts who gave testimony. US Wind and other supporters of the project were invited but failed to attend.
The representatives and panelists discussed the negative impact on the shore, our oceans and Ocean City:
They cited the destruction of marine life, impact on sport and commercial fishing disrupting our food chain and making us dependent on foreign sources for seafood, documented interference with radar including military radar compromising our national security, interference with horseshoe crabs and their breeding grounds used widely for medicine, hearing damage to whales resulting in their death, changes to sea currents, impairment of US Coast Guard search and rescue operations.
We were informed that the Wind Farms are expensive and unreliable, working only when the wind blows; they are dangerous to navigation and aircraft radars, According to the Cato Institute, they would likely quadruple energy costs and polls have shown they would lead to 55% loss of tourism (even if rooms were offered at a discount). The proposed 150 towers are reported to be over 1,000 feet in height with blades each as long as a football field.
Imagine the potential loss of property values and economic losses to the local restaurants, hotels and fishing industries among others. I understand Gov. Wes Moore has been a backer of this project and it would be interesting to hear what he has to say about the hearing.
Speakers noted that there has been a great deal of stonewalling by the energy company and various government agencies as well. These entities have stonewalled our own elected representatives and are pushing the project forward.
US Wind is owned by a company in Italy. Do we want to be dependent on a foreign entity for our electricity? Do you think they care about America? Do we want to be dependent on China or Italy for our seafood?
Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith of New Jersey stopped the Orsted Offshore Wind Farm Project in New Jersey. They obtained 500,000 signatures on their petition.
Offshore Wind An Opportunity
A congressional forum in Ocean City over the weekend highlighted what some believe is everything wrong with offshore wind in Maryland. Yet, the claims made throughout the event ranged from misleading to outright false.
In what seemed like an effort to pick winners and losers, there was a clear misuse of the facts. Lawmakers lamented what they claim to be offshore wind’s potential effect on local marine life and the state’s economy. The loud talk and misleading claims distract from the real threats to Maryland, its environment and its economy, and dismiss one of the very technologies we need to protect them.
Unmitigated climate change will result in a significant cost to Maryland and its residents, especially those in Ocean City and along the coast. A recent report by WJZ revealed that “at least $1.2 billion worth of property in Worcester County has a higher chance of changing compared to surrounding areas over the next decade due to hazards along the coast, including rising sea levels and erosion.”
In fact, climate change is the biggest threat to marine life, including whales and fish. Yet, you wouldn’t know that from listening to this past weekend’s speakers, who erroneously attempted to place the blame on offshore wind development for impacts on fishing and recent whale deaths.
They failed to mention the lack of evidence connecting offshore wind to those whale deaths. In fact, during a recent interview with the National Aquarium, a representative of the National Wildlife Federation remarked that while offshore wind development may cause some temporary disturbances, all available science does not indicate that offshore wind causes permanent damage to whale populations.
Concerns raised by the fishing industry are valid, and we must hear them out. However, warming waters and a changing ocean ecosystem is already threatening commercial fishing across America and we must act to protect the industry’s long term sustainability.
Yet, the majority of Marylanders are in favor of the offshore wind industry and the energy it can provide the state. A Victoria Research poll conducted late last year found that 72 percent of Marylanders are in favor of expanding the role of offshore wind, and for good reason. A report conducted by the American Clean Power Association estimates that by 2030, the offshore wind industry will support 45,000 jobs nationally and contribute $7 billion to the U.S. economy.
Finally, Maryland needs more energy to meet growing demand. A responsible all-of-the-above energy approach must embrace the strategic use of all available energy sources. In places like Maryland with expansive coastline, this must include offshore wind. Yes, every source of energy has trade-offs, but that’s a reality we must face.
Looking at the facts, the offshore wind industry has a myriad of benefits, both for energy abundance, energy independence, and economic prosperity. The potential negative effects, specifically those on marine life, have been greatly exaggerated to fit a political agenda that does not serve the interests of Maryland.
(The writer is the policy associate at the American Conservation Coalition, which has members across the state including a campus branch at the University of Maryland.)