Yesterday, more than 80 Marylanders crowded into a standing-room only hearing for the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. The House Economic Matters Committee hearing was the latest show of public support for the state’s development of clean offshore wind energy.
The proposal championed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will be an economic powerhouse for Maryland, while helping the state achieve its renewable energy goals, reduce emissions and improve air and water quality.
Broad Support for Offshore Wind in Maryland
From the mountains to the coast, offshore wind enjoys broad bipartisan support across the state.
A December 2012 poll commissioned by the Maryland Offshore Wind Coalition and conducted by OpinionWorks demonstrated that a growing number of Maryland voters and a strong majority—72 percent—support investing in the development of offshore wind power. These results represent an 8-percent increase since similar polling was conducted in December 2011.
It is clear that Marylanders want to transition to renewable sources of energy. The polls also found that 80 percent of those surveyed would “prefer to invest in clean wind power, rather than build another power plant that burns fossil fuels” and contributes to global warming pollution. Maryland imports 30 percent of our energy from neighboring states, primarily coal from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Offshore wind can help Maryland meet its energy needs, through home-grown sources, without creating more pollution.
Clean Energy Critical for Chesapeake Bay Wildlife
Transitioning to clean energy sources, such as Atlantic offshore wind is one of the essential ways to protect wildlife for our children’s future. Sea level rise caused by global warming pollution is the single biggest threat to wildlife and habitats like the Chesapeake Bay. With its expansive coastline, low-lying topography, and growing coastal population, the Chesapeake Bay region is among the places in the nation most vulnerable to sea level rise.
The state of Maryland is currently losing approximately 580 acres every year to shore erosion, placing natural treasures like Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Tangier Sound and the wildlife species that depend on them at risk. Last summer, research from the U.S. Geological Survey found that oceans are rising three to four times faster between portions of North Carolina and Massachusetts than in other parts of the globe, partially because of land subsidence.
National Wildlife Federation is working with a broad coalition of partners all along the Atlantic coast to build momentum and support for the rapid, responsible development of our offshore wind energy resources.