Statement on Congressman Andy Harris’ Amendment to Kill Offshore Wind

IMMEDIATE RELEASE           
July 19, 2017
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 CONGRESSMAN ANDY HARRIS’ AMENDMENT 
TO KILL OFFSHORE WIND

 

Annapolis, MD- The Maryland Climate Coalition (MDCC) condemned Congressman Andy Harris’ amendment to the House Appropriations Committee legislation that would prohibit the Department of Interior from reviewing, and ultimately signing off on site assessments and construction plans for recently approved Offshore Wind projects in Maryland. This proposal will essentially kill the two offshore wind projects just approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. Today we urge Governor Hogan, Maryland’s legislative leaders, and our Public Service Commission to tell Congressman Harris to stop overriding the will of our state.
 
After six years of public debate and hearings, and deliberations by the Maryland General Assembly and the Public Service Commission, the Congressman’s proposal seeks to circumvent Maryland’s overwhelming support for developing wind energy off the Atlantic coast. At public hearings hosted by the Public Service Commission for the projects, over 300 Marylanders spoke in support for offshore wind in Maryland and off the coast of Ocean City. Several thousand Marylanders submitted written comments in support. The Commission even cited overwhelming public support for the projects in their approval Order.
 
“When we began working on offshore wind over seven years ago, we worked together with our coalition partners to bring all stakeholders to the table, including local community leaders, labor organizations, elected officials, faith leaders, and health professionals for the common goal of improving the air quality in this state. Congressman Harris is ignoring the will of Marylanders and his constituents,” stated Karla Raettig, Executive Director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. “Our state and especially Congressman Harris’ district is particularly vulnerable to climate change and this amendment is just willful ignorance to move our state into a clean energy economy.”

“Offshore wind has broad public support in Maryland. Congressman Harris has put his fringe, personal agenda ahead of the interests of his constituents and the state,” said David Smedick, Campaign and Policy Director for the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Offshore wind is going to be an economic driver for Maryland, and is wildly popular. We’ve seen supporters come out to events and hearings across the state for many years, including In the Lower Eastern Shore, Annapolis, and Baltimore. As we work to clean our air and protect our communities, and climate from fossil fuels, we need to move to our abundant clean energy resources like offshore wind.” 

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 this summer, this clean renewable energy project is sorely needed to help us transition away from polluting fossil fuels that make it harder to breathe. 

The Congressman’s proposal essentially oversteps the will of the people of Maryland and our state government and exerts federal power where it is unwanted, inappropriate, and unneeded. Marylanders want to grow clean energy and fight climate change, not get held back by Washington’s recent anti-climate action efforts.  

Maryland Climate Coalition seeks to unite Marylanders to mitigate climate change to protect our environment, health, and economy. The Coalition works with a broad range of partners engaging in policy advocacy, grassroots organizing, and public education.

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