Offshore wind is the wave of the Eastern Shore's economic future

ecoblast_cropped.jpgAt a recent statewide Sierra Club conference, speakers sounded the alarm that Maryland, once a pioneer in developing renewable offshore wind power, was being overtaken by New Jersey and Massachusetts while our political establishment dragged their feet. Eastern Shore activists and officials recently tried to move the needle on the project by addressing one of its chief opponents.



 

Offshore wind is the wave of the future lower shore blog oct 2019

/By Jared Schablein<>Lower Shore Progressive Caucus/ The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus was proud to take the lead on a coalition of local leaders appealing to Rep. Andy Harris to change his position on offshore wind projects. Many thanks to Mayor Jacob Day of Salisbury, Wicomico Councilmember Josh Hastings, and Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes for signing on and supporting these initiatives, which will benefit the Lower Shore economically and ecologically.

Read our letter to Rep. Harris below.

Dear Representative Harris:

 As you are keenly aware, the Eastern Shore has long struggled to attract new industry and bring about greater economic growth.  We want to see an Eastern Shore economy built from rural strengths that is not just strong, but one that is thriving and with an eye towards innovation, opportunity, and global awareness.   

 It’s no secret that the Eastern Shore’s economy has been affected by industries leaving, policies that restrict our H2-B/J-1 visa workers, a trade war that hurts our agricultural sector, the 2008 financial meltdown, and more.  What’s left is a region dealing with higher rates of poverty, less opportunity, and residents that are ecoblast_cropped.jpgstruggling to get by. 

For the greater part of a decade, our region has been working towards an opportunity to bring both jobs and economic growth through off-shore wind.

We know you have been opposed to this project in the past, but we are asking you to step back and support the bigger picture.  This project allows the Eastern Shore an opportunity to become industry leaders in an industry that is clearly a strong part of the future clean energy mix.  Today Europe has more than 80 offshore wind projects producing over 11,000 megawatts of clean energy. These projects prove that claims that the offshore wind project is a “defense risk” are wrong.  The truth is that offshore wind developers and the U.S. military have worked in tandem with our NATO allies in the North Sea alongside offshore wind turbines for decades. 

The construction of offshore wind and future green energy projects across the Eastern Shore would allow for the birth of a modern clean energy economy that will produce thousands of skilled, family-supporting jobs across our entire region.  According to the Public Service Commission, this first offshore wind project alone would bring $1.8 billion of in-state spending as well as 9,700 direct and indirect jobs. Keeping in mind that the U.S. industry is just beginning to develop this tremendous untapped offshore wind resource, this presents an opportunity for the Eastern Shore and all of Maryland to put our businesses and our workers at the forefront of this imminent American industry.

 With this in mind, this coalition of elected officials, organizations, and active constituents from across Maryland’s First Congressional District is urging you to publicly take a stand for the Eastern Shore wind project.  Please put the Eastern Shore before partisan politics and fully support prioritizing off-shore wind energy. We eagerly wait for your response and appreciate your service. 

 Sincerely, 

Jared Schablein, Chair, Lower Shore Progressive Caucus       

Katherine Maynard Kent and Queen Anne's Indivisible
           
Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes ■ Speaker Pro Tem: Maryland House of Delegates

Cecilia Plante, The Maryland Legislative Coalition      

Jacob Day ■ Mayor of Salisbury

Kristy Fogle MMS, PA-C    

Brooke Harper, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Susan Andrew

Caroline Huddle

Josh Hastings ■ Wicomico County Council District 4

Todd Nock ■ Pocomoke City Council District 4

Michele Gregory, candidate, Salisbury City Council District 4

Susan Olsen Indivisible Dorchester


First published Sept. 28 by the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus website