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Offshore Wind Farms are Environmental Justice?

Dear Editor:

 

Have you ever read something that just made your jaw drop at the sheer idiocy of the writer?  Loaded question, I know - I’m sure there are quite a few readers who believe that about my writing.  However, I am utterly confident that I and others who are opposed to offshore wind will be proven correct.

 

The latest jaw-dropper comes from the Maryland Department of the Environment informing us of a Public Information Meeting concerning US Wind’s application for the construction of the wind farm(s) off our coast.  Apparently, US Wind needs an air-quality permit-to-construct since air quality is an “Environmental Justice” (EJ) issue, and the EJ score in the census tract impacted by the OSW Farm has been shown to be 17.29 (whatever the heck that means - something about poverty rate and minority population rate and percentage of limited English proficiency). The Notice doesn’t tell us the area comprising the “census tract” but I’m guessing Worcester? I’m sorry, but air quality is an “Environmental Justice” issue?  Did the State of Maryland employee who typed that Notice do so with a straight face?

 

Speaking of Environmental Justice - have you heard of the lithium-ion battery storage facility near San Diego that caught fire on May 15th and as of May 24th was still burning?  Firefighters have used, as of May 24th, 5 million gallons of water attempting to control the blaze.  Since California is drought stricken, and the fire itself emits dangerous levels of chemicals into the atmosphere, what do you think this fire and the attempts to extinguish it will do to the “EJ Score” of that area?

 

I wonder where the energy storage facility for the hundreds of turbines planned for our coast will be constructed?  Will we be allowed to ask about that at the “public information meeting” which is scheduled for Thursday, June 13th from 5:30-8:00 pm at the Ocean City Convention Center (at least it’s not in Salisbury). 

 

I hope at this meeting citizens are allowed to ask about the wind turbines that have been destroyed by tornadoes in the midwest.  The wind industry has repeatedly assured us that the turbines can withstand tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.  Hurricane force winds can exceed the speed of winds from an F2 or F3 tornado, and usually are sustained over hours if not days. 

 

I also hope we are allowed to point out that parts of Europe are backing away from wind (and solar) energy - both land based and offshore. Finland is turning to nuclear power and it appears Sweden is following. Finland has discovered that the power generated by nuclear is much less expensive and complicated than either wind or solar. In addition, England’s Prime Minister is now allowing oil and gas exploration/development in the already developed offshore Wind Farms.

 

Can we also point out the absolute inefficiency of our government in handling all things green?  Remember the $7.5B allocated over two years ago by the Biden Admin for building tens of thousands of EV charging stations along US Highways by 2030?  Did you know that, to date, only eight have been installed?

 

Remember the March 25th public information session held by MDE (in Salisbury) regarding US Wind’s application for use of our harbor in Ocean City?  Remember how suddenly, right before the meeting, without notice, US Wind changed its plans to cut in half the number of boats, etc. and the size of the pier by about half, thereby rendering the  prepared comments of attendees useless?  Did you know that on May 2nd, US Wind again revised its plans to restore the pier and the rest of the plans to pretty much its original size?  How can they do this?  Why on Earth is that allowed?  Can we ask at the June 13th meeting, since, to date, the Maryland Department of the Environment is refusing requests from our Mayor and our State Senator and our State Delegate, as well as our Congressman, to hold a hearing on the changes?

 

Did you know that many communities on the east coast are fighting offshore wind - basically the “little guy” vs. Big Green and our own governments, state, federal and in some instances local.  I am grateful that our governments (both Ocean City and Worcester County) and our Congressman are dead set against offshore wind and are in the fight with us.

 

Please join us on June 13th at 5:30 pm at Ocean City Convention Center with your questions and comments.

 

Carol Frazier

Ocean Pines



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