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News and Resources

Consider 'green' energy impact - August 2, 2012

Finding alternative sources of energy is critical to reducing greenhouse gases, but the forward-thinking businesses that support, wind, solar and alternative fuels need to consider their impact on the environment, too.

The latest Atlantic Wind Connection proposal is to run a transmission line across Assateague Island from its offshore wind facility and then west to Berlin. As it stands, the cable would be underground and run only along major roads and highways. We hope to work with Newport Bay farmers and property owners and our partners at the park service to keep cable underground to avoid above-ground intrusion of farmland, forests and wetlands south of Route 50.

Millions of dollars have been spent by the state of Maryland and the federal government to protect this last remaining jewel in the mid-Atlantic region. During the last several decades, thousands of man hours have been expended by conservation groups like The Nature Conservancy, National Audubon Society, Maryland Coastal Bays Program, National Park Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Lower Shore Land Trust, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and Worcester County to protect the pristine coastal bays and the abundant bio-diversity that exists along the Sinepuxent, Newport, and Chincoteague bays.

The migrating flight paths of thousands of birds and waterfowl here have been well-documented and include many rare, threatened and endangered species.

A recent botanical inventory in the Newport Bay watershed shows similar rare species along with rare reptiles.

Through zoning, Worcester County has worked hard to keep the bays and natural lands south of Route 50 in pristine condition. In 2008, DNR included the lands west of Route 113 and south of Route 50 in its targeted ecological areas. This was followed in 2009 by the Maryland Coastal Bays Program's Policy Committee creation of the Newport-Chincoteague Land Conservation Area. In 2010, the National Audubon Society recognized the southern bays as an important bird area.

If offshore wind is to work, then all other potential routes should keep transmission underground and pathways north of Route 50 should be given the highest priority to avoid intrusion into the most biologically diverse parts of the county.

Converting to wind and solar over the next several decades is both a biological and economic necessity. Unlike coal and oil, the private and corporate entities working on greener energy sources have the drive and the moral compass to do it right.

They just need to understand that some areas are too rich and too beautiful to be disturbed.

Dave Wilson Jr. is the executive director of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. 


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