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Ocean City Council's unfair fight against wind power

The five turbines of the Block Island, Rhode Island, Wind Farm turn generating approximately 16 megawatts of electricity, In Maryland, the Ocean City Council voted to oppose turbines visible from shore.
The five turbines of the Block Island, Rhode Island, Wind Farm turn generating approximately 16 megawatts of electricity, In Maryland, the Ocean City Council voted to oppose turbines visible from shore. (Sean D. Elliot, Associated Press)

I applaud your recent editorial on the proposed offshore wind projects near Ocean City (“Ocean City finds wind turbines too gauche,” Feb. 6). As a citizen concerned about environmental stewardship, I attended the recent meeting of the Ocean City Town Council. To say that the meeting was disheartening and dispiriting is a huge understatement.

The resolution passed by the town council, which opposes any visible offshore wind projects, included inaccuracies. Most disingenuous was a study commissioned by the council claiming 55 percent of potential beachfront condo renters might be deterred from doing so based upon the sight of turbines offshore. What they failed to mention, however, is that the photos shown to potential renters were of turbines located two miles offshore. Whereas the turbines currently proposed would be located 17 miles offshore.

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The council addressed the gathered assembly of 40-50 local residents dismissively and did not allow an opportunity for comments or questions prior to their vote. In addition, council members repeatedly mentioned the visual pollution of offshore turbines. One might ask how that compares to the beachside visual annoyances produced by advertising airplanes and floating electronic billboards on boats within a few hundred yards of the beach.

As a local Lutheran pastor, I can tell you that our denomination has a strong history of environmental advocacy and the promotion of sustainability. The congregation I am privileged to serve installed solar panels three years ago in order to demonstrate our commitment to care for creation. Despite the council’s repeated statements designed to convince the gathered citizens that they are totally supportive of green energy, the simple fact is actions speak louder than words.

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To date, the actions of the mayor and council have been questionable and their willingness to engage local constituents in an honest public dialogue severely lacking.

The Rev. Gregg Knepp, Sr., Ocean City

The writer is pastor of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

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