Wildwood, New Jersey and Ocean City, Maryland are 41 nautical miles apart. They have honky-tonk boardwalks, robust tourist economies, amusement parks, and very vocal opponents to proposed offshore wind energy developments off their respective coasts.
On Thursday afternoon, the Republican congressmen who represent these resort towns — along with two of their GOP colleagues — held a public hearing in New Jersey at the Wildwoods Convention Center, along the boardwalk, that surely will further whip up opposition to offshore wind.
The hearing took place an hour after the Maryland Senate inched closer to passing a bill designed to expand the fledgling offshore wind industry in the state. The measure won preliminary approval after Minority Leader Stephen S. Hershey Jr. (R-Upper Shore) peppered bill sponsor and floor leader, Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D-Howard), with multiple questions that touched on many themes raised later during the congressional hearing.
In both settings, the Republican argument against wind energy boiled down to this: The projects are expensive and burdensome while the economic benefits, if there are any, are impossible to calculate. The environmental risks of erecting giant towers in the ocean and bringing transmission lines onshore, are unknown, even if they are generating renewable energy. And the regulatory process is terribly flawed and unresponsive to community concerns.
You could read more of this Maryland Matters article here.