Maryland Climate Coalition: Statement on Ocean City Resolution to Kill Offshore Wind

IMMEDIATE RELEASE           

February 5, 2018

For more information contact:

Karla Raettig, Maryland League of Conservation Voters (c)  202-674-3174
David Smedick, Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club (p) 301-277-7111  

MARYLAND CLIMATE COALITION:
STATEMENT ON OCEAN CITY RESOLUTION
TO KILL OFFSHORE WIND

Annapolis, MD- The Maryland Climate Coalition (MDCC) expressed disappointment and frustration with the Ocean City Council resolution passed tonight that opposes the advancement of offshore wind projects in Maryland. After six years of public debate and hearings, and deliberations by the Maryland General Assembly and the Public Service Commission, this resolution seeks to circumvent Maryland’s overwhelming support for developing wind energy off the Atlantic coast. At public hearings hosted last year by the Public Service Commission for the projects in both Annapolis and on the Lower Shore, over 300 Marylanders spoke in support of offshore wind off the coast of Ocean City, with barely one handful expressing concern. Several thousand Marylanders submitted written comments in support. The Commission even cited overwhelming public support for the projects in their approval Order.

“Requiring the wind projects to be developed 24 nautical miles offshore is a nail in the coffin for the jobs, clean energy, and environmental benefits offshore wind will bring to the Eastern Shore and to Maryland,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Ocean City is a magical place that has every right to preserve its legacy. With all due respect for the concerns of the Council, we believe this resolution represents groundless, short-sighted, reactionary thinking that simply does not correspond with the mindset of the people who visit this beloved town every year. The leaders of Ocean City should reaffix their gaze not to an imagined eyesore off their coastline, but to the future.”

The offshore wind projects are scheduled to create more than 9,000 jobs and establish Maryland as a leader in the offshore wind power industry. With Maryland experiencing frequent code orange and red air quality alerts over the past few years, this clean renewable energy project is sorely needed to help us transition away from polluting fossil fuels that make it harder to breathe.  

“The desire to move the turbines to 24 nautical miles offshore is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation that is not based on science, math, or economics,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Director for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This resolution is sending a chilling message to the burgeoning offshore wind industry, just as it is poised to blossom in our state, that it should take its thousands of jobs elsewhere.”

In OpinionWorks polling released last month, 72 percent of voters in the Lower Shore’s District 38 expressed support for the offshore wind projects as currently proposed, rather than pushing them out further from shore. With 43 percent strongly favoring the current proposal, only 22 percent oppose it. In the polling, 267 voters were queried about their attitudes.

According to developers, for observers on the clearest and sunniest of days standing on the shore, the horizon is at a distance of 2.9 miles, but for an observer standing on the top of a 100-foot building on the shore, the horizon is at a distance of 12.2 miles. Therefore, due to the curvature of the earth, offshore wind turbines more than 12.2 miles out from the shore will be slightly visible to observers standing on the top of a 100-foot building. On top of that, one of the wind developers has already accommodated Ocean City by agreeing to move their site from 12 to 17 miles offshore.

“The wind blowing off the coast of Ocean City is a blessing,” said Rev. Gregg Knepp, the senior pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Ocean City. “To harness that energy would create jobs, establish our region as a leader in the offshore wind power industry and demonstrate we are willing to do our part to address climate change and protect our coast from sea-level rise.”

The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. For more information about the Maryland Climate Coalition, visit: http://marylandclimatecoalition.org/

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