Environmentalists still looking at light, power

Fenwick Island’s Environmental Committee was back to business in the new year at its meeting this past week. Some of the items on their agenda included a possible recommendation to the town council that it write a letter to state natural resources officials about the dangers of the fly-ash pit at the power plant in Millsboro. Councilwoman and committee member Vicki Carmean also put forth a motion to have an experimental rain garden created on a property in town.

The committee also discussed a light-pollution survey they had done by a lighting company, regarding the street lights in town, but Carmean said it wasn’t a fruitful survey.

“You use a lighting company for a survey about lights, and they are going to tell you need more…” she said. Being that the main objective of the environmental committee is to preserve the night sky, rather than artificially light it up, Councilman and committee member Chris Clark said he would talk to members of the Dark Sky Organization before the committee’s next meeting, to see what their next step, if any, might be.

The committee also talked about getting a summary statement out to all residents to better advertise what they do as a committee, and spoke of ways to increase membership and public attendance at their meetings. They also briefly discussed suggesting an ordinance requiring 3-foot-buffers landward of bulkheads and riprap.

Under new business, the committee discussed a planned presentation to the town’s Charter and Ordinance Committee about solar panels and said Environmental Committee members should attend and then have their February meeting, as scheduled, to discuss the findings.

Co-chair Buzz Henifin noted that he had changed electricity providers from Delmarva Power to Washington Gas and had been receiving about 5 percent of his power from wind sources. He said Washington Gas subsequently approached him to see if he would pay a slightly higher rate to raise that wind-power sourcing to 100 percent, so he did and now receives 100 percent of his electric power from wind.

The next Charter and Ordinance Committee meeting, including a presentation on solar power by Benn Farr of FlexEra Inc., will be Feb. 3 at 9:30 a.m. The next Environmental Committee meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m.