The Baltimore Port Maritime Council, acting on behalf of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, signed onto the following statement urging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to reconsider its Wind Energy Area map to include more offshore development space for wind farms:
Governor Moore and the state of Maryland have shown tremendous leadership in support of the offshore wind industry. By setting an ambitious goal of building 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind through the Promoting Offshore Wind Energy Resources (POWER) Act we have taken steps to bring good union jobs to Maryland, lower energy costs, and cut our state’s pollution to improve our health.
One critical step needed to facilitate Maryland achieving its offshore wind goal is for the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) to grant sufficient offshore wind lease areas in the Central Atlantic. Maryland will not be able to achieve our climate goals if the lease areas offered are not adequate, and so we are urging BOEM to ensure Maryland can meet its commitment to offshore wind.
It is possible to build 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind in this region and still meet the needs of all ocean users, including the Department of Defense, U.S. Coast Guard, and NASA. If Maryland’s offshore wind potential is slashed by a subpar Central Atlantic lease sale, it will cost Maryland jobs, worsen our health outcomes, and make it impossible to meet our climate goals. Maryland has attracted union manufacturing jobs by expanding our promise of offshore wind, but factories need a pipeline of projects in order to operate. If BOEM fails to lease sufficient acreage in the Central Atlantic to meet Maryland’s new goal as well as create room to spare (to account for current and anticipated demand from neighboring states like Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey), then supply chain companies will be less likely to make investments in Maryland, and we could even see existing commitments rolled back. A report by Gabel Associates found that every megawatt hour of offshore wind energy the state generates saves over $50 from reduced air pollution induced health and environmental costs. If we lose the ability to build gigawatts of turbines, that will mean billions of dollars in additional healthcare costs for the state. Maryland has the most ambitious near term climate goal in the country, 60% greenhouse gas reduction by 2031. The state is legally obligated to meet this goal, which is already hard to do and will become extremely difficult, if not impossible if our offshore wind potential is reduced. For our jobs, our health, and our climate, we need offshore wind lease space to accommodate the
production of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind.
Maryland has achieved liftoff for our offshore wind economy, and now it is time to secure the industry and the benefits it will bring to our state. We urge BOEM to approve ocean lease areas that will allow Maryland to meet our goal of 8.5 gigawatts of offshore wind.
AFGE Local 1923, AFL-CIO
AFL-CIO Community Services of Central Maryland
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility
Climate Reality Greater Maryland
Elders Climate Action Maryland
Environmental Justice Ministry Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Howard County Climate Action
IBEW Local 24 – Baltimore and Salisbury MD
Indivisible Howard County
Interfaith Partners for the Chesapeake
Ironworkers Mid-Atlantic States District Council
IUOE Local 37
Locust Point Community Garden
Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Maryland Legislative Coalition
MD Legislative Coalition Climate Justice Wing
NAACP Maryland State Conference
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
SMART Transportation Division
Strum Contracting Company Inc.
UAW Local 239