Letter to the PSC Regarding Offshore Wind Projects

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David J. Collins
Executive Secretary
Maryland Public Service Commission
6 Saint Paul Street, 16th Floor
Baltimore, Maryland 21202-6806

November 15, 2019

Reference Case: No. 9431

Dear Executive Secretary Collins:

The Maryland Climate Coalition brings together environmental, faith, health, labor, and civic

organizations to advance clean energy and climate policies in Maryland. From the beginning, we urged the Public Service Commission to approve Maryland’s first offshore wind farm and make Maryland a national leader in this industry. Now, we urge you to ensure that there is no delay in getting steel in water. 

Just last week, a new report by 11,258 scientists in 153 countries from a broad range of disciplines warned that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency.” The report, published in the journal Bioscience, marks the first time a large group of scientists has formally come out in favor of labeling climate change an “emergency.” Last year, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change declared: “An immense increase of scale in endeavors to conserve our biosphere is needed to avoid untold suffering due to the climate crisis.”

To be clear, offshore wind is not a panacea to this global problem. But the wind blowing off the Atlantic coast is a tremendous and untapped clean energy source that will help protect people and wildlife from pollution and help Maryland do its part to address climate change.

It has taken us almost a decade to get the offshore wind projects to this point. These plans have rightfully accounted for technological advancements in offshore wind over the years. There are no data to indicate that turbines more than a dozen miles offshore will hurt rental income and real estate values. The opposite is true where the only turbines on the east coast are currently installed: Block Island in Rhode Island. Other studies (Firestone and Parson 2018, Biggar Economics 2016) suggest that the net effect of windmills on tourism is negligible and even slightly positive. An article posted last week in the publication Energy News Network indicates that the Block Island area has emerged as a popular recreation spot. A survey found that many recreational anglers think the Block Island Wind Farm improved fishing by acting as an artificial reef.

We urge you not to take any actions that would delay the advancement of these projects. 

Respectfully,

Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Environmental Justice Ministry
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Climate Law & Policy Project
Climate XChange
DoTheMostGood Montgomery County
Earthjustice
Environment Maryland
Greenbelt Climate Action  Network
Howard County Climate Action
Indivisible Howard County
Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
Interfaith Power & Light
League of Women Voters of Maryland
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Maryland Legislative Coalition
National Wildlife Federation – Mid-Atlantic Regional Center
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Sierra Club Maryland Chapter
Sunrise Movement Baltimore
Sunrise Movement Howard County
Sunrise Movement Towson
Takoma Park Mobilization Environment Committee
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of Maryland
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
350 Montgomery County