Letter to the Editor

printed 05/21/2021

Editor,

The Delmarva coast has significant potential to produce energy from wind.

Local wind energy has the potential to reduce air pollutants from coal-fired and trash-incineration power plants while wind turbine foundations may serve as an artificial reef, increasing abundance and diversity of species through increased availability of shelter, habitat, and food.

With passions running high, it is important to take a broader and more balanced approach to this form of clean energy.

The transition off fossil fuels is urgent as sea level rise, driven by climate change, is already being felt by the resort on its beleaguered bayside flank.

Having risen nearly a foot through the 20th century in coastal Maryland, sea level is projected to rise 2.5-to-4 additional feet by the end of the century due to increasing ocean temperatures. Our actions now can mitigate the severity of that rise.

With rising ocean temperatures we’re already seeing the economic impacts of fisheries moving north to cooler waters, and the migrations of some whale species are changing as they try to follow food sources which are moving as ocean temperatures rise.

The National Audubon Society’s report “Survival by Degrees” finds that two-thirds of America’s birds are threatened with extinction from climate change. Research shows that most coastal birds use waters closer to shore than 17 miles for foraging and migrating.

There will be some bird impacts from offshore turbines at this distance but we must face the fact that a rapidly warming climate is a far greater threat to birds and to people.

Our coastal communities are facing higher flood and homeowner insurance rates as waterfront and low lying properties are hit by stronger coastal storms and heavier rain events.

For Ocean City to continue its battle against the inevitable construction of wind farms off our coast is time, effort and taxpayer money wrongly directed.

We invite input from anyone concerning this project, we are all in this together.

Assateague Coastal Trust spent the covid summer of 2020 working with an energy consultant from the University of Delaware to hold ‘information exchange’ Zoom meetings with various stakeholder groups in the area about offshore wind.

We listened to concerns about the environment, energy transmission, property values, and sunrise views. We then researched the scientific data available to address these concerns.

This has been compiled in a FAQ document on our website and we hope to soon bring these online ‘information exchange’ meetings as a community wide outreach effort to demystify offshore wind and provide science based facts, not lobbyist propaganda, to the public.

We encourage the Town of Ocean City to move forward to a future of clean energy production, healthy communities and a strong economy.

J. Eric Vinson, CPA

Treasurer

Assateague Coastal Trust

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