On Wednesday, Nov. 9, a capacity audience from south-central Prince George’s County packed a town hall meeting in Temple Hills to ask questions and show support for proposals to develop an offshore wind power industry in Maryland. The attendees – numbering over 100 and hailing from state districts 24, 25, and 26 -- were especially interested in the jobs and health benefits of offshore wind as well as the prospects for lower, long-term electricity bills from this non-fossil fuel source of power.
Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, who kicked off the event at the Hillcrest Heights Community Recreation Center, passionately explained that he and Governor O’Malley believe offshore wind is an important component of Maryland’s energy future.
|Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown Addresses Attendees|
Other speakers at the town hall included Delegate Aisha Braveboy (D-District 25); Kari Fulton, Director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative; Fred Tutman of Patuxent Riverkeeper; Tom Carlson of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network; and Mike Kutzleb, President of Phoenix International, a PG County-based underwater engineering business that plans to hire workers to help build future offshore wind farms in Maryland.
Community members seemed particularly impressed by the health and environmental benefits of the wind project. Kari Fulton of EJCC spoke passionately about the need for urban communities to engage in efforts to build a new clean-energy economy. Fred Tutman, with Patuxent Riverkeeper, discussed the harmful environmental and health impacts of current DC-area power plants that burn massive amounts of dirty fossil fuels. Tutman singled out PG County’s Chalk Point coal plant, which in recent years has experienced multiple violations of federal pollution laws.
Panelists also explained that these jobs and the $4 billion is anticipated savings on Maryland health costs more than outweigh a potential small initial increase in ratepayers’ bills. Indeed, a recent poll showed that nearly 70 percent of voters in Maryland’s D.C.-area suburbs favor spending up to $2 per month to help develop a new wind-power industry in the state that reduces fossil-fuel use.
[Courtesy Ivan Lanier, Greenwill Consulting Group, 125 West Street Suite 101, Annapolis MD 21401, Ilanier@greenwillgroup.com, 410-490-1309]