Letters to the Editor

Readers weigh in on proposed wind farm

Editor:

We had to write after seeing the letter about saving the world for our grandchildren. We believe many have lost sight of the main issue. The list on negatives for the project is very long, and most would probably agree the view is at the bottom of the list.

Orsted is a Danish company that has leased ocean space off the coasts of Delaware and Maryland to build a wind farm. They have penned an agreement with Maryland, who wants to purchase the “clean” power generated. However, they need a place on shore to run massive cables into an electrical substation in order to connect to the power grid. Delaware — specifically Fenwick Island — is the shortest route for Orsted to bring the power on shore.

The clean energy would come with an environmental impact, so how does it retain a “clean” designation? Orsted has offered the State of Delaware $18 million in order to use state parkland to build the electrical substation there. DNREC is the department that is charged with protecting state parks, fragile wetlands and wildlife for future generations. Why would they go against their mission to allow an electrical substation on state parkland? Oh, the money. This whole project is about the money.

The windmills are scheduled to be built over time. As the power generated increases, they’ll need additional power lines to move the electricity. The Town of Fenwick Island is a small strip of land less than 2 miles long. Where are they going to run the high-power lines? Over everyone’s homes?

There have been many studies that have shown there are health risks associated with living near high-power lines. Is Orsted or our Delaware officials concerned about this? There are many less populated areas that could accommodate a wind farm and have far less impact on people and the environment. 

We are concerned about the future, but destroying state parkland and the wildlife that depends on it isn’t a good plan. The cables to bring the power on shore will cost Orsted approximately $800,000 a mile to run. By sacrificing Delaware state parkland in Fenwick Island, Orsted will save a great deal of money on construction.

Why is that our concern? This is a company like any other. They’re in business to make money. If they can cut a few corners to save a few million, they will do it. If Orsted is truly concerned about the environment, they should explore other locations, even if it costs a little more.

Terence Crumlish
Margaret Crumlish
Newark, Fenwick Island

 

Reader wants environment protected

Editor:

I am opposed to the proposed DNREC/Orsted plans to run a huge cable from the offshore Skipjack wind turbine to the Fenwick Island State Park, not more than a mile from my property. There are many concerns regarding this plan, but the first question I have is, “Why here?”

This turbine, the biggest ever built, is being funded by taxpayer money from the State of Maryland in order to create (very expensive) electric power and possible job opportunities for its own state residents. This cable could easily be run to Maryland’s Assateague State Park, which is separate from the national Assateague park.

Since this is Maryland’s answer to alternate energy, why is Maryland not offering to use its land? Could it be that those state officials do not want to deal with the unknown negative environmental and health consequences of the construction process and the electro-magnetic field generated by the cable and connection facility? Since this is a Maryland project, then Maryland should assume the risk and consequences of tearing up its natural beaches and destroying the habitats of the existing wildlife.

I also feel that building a bunker and running a huge cable to Delaware’s shores is a betrayal of the Delaware Coastal Zone Act, which was developed to protect our area from the ugliness of heavy industry. Tourism and agriculture remain the top two industries in Delaware, bringing in millions of dollars for the entire state, thanks to the efforts of Sussex County.

I feel certain that the Orsted project will drive away the tourists who come here to escape the industrial grime and noise of the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia urban areas. Once the door is opened to running electrical cables for industrial use to the beach area, additional pressure will be applied to increase the beach for heavy industrial use.

I am also opposed to what this project will do to our beautiful, quiet town: construction chaos, inappropriate beach development, increased traffic, lower real estate values, environmental and health risks are just a few of the negatives that will make this area unattractive to visitors and investors. As far as I can tell, no valid studies have been instituted to provide data on the adverse effects to humans, the environment and marine life.

It appears that Maryland, Orsted and DNREC see our community as a dumping ground for this industrial project in exchange for $17 or $18 million. In turn, Delaware officials are gullible and greedy enough to willingly exchange a beautiful and valuable beach area for this, like the way the early European settlers bought Manhattan from the Native Americans for a few beads.

In conclusion, please keep Orsted out of the Fenwick area! DNREC needs to stay on track with its own mission statement that it is supposed to protect the natural environment, not develop it.

Barbara McCoy
Fenwick Island

 

Reader supports project, environment

Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) Bethany Beach Mayor Lew Killmer, U.S. Rep. Andrew Harris (R-Md.), U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and U.S. Sen Chris Coons (D-Del.), and to the Coastal Point for publication.

I write this letter as a proud Delaware homeowner and a person who has enjoyed the Bethany Beach shoreline since I was 3 years old. Bethany Beach has always been the place my family comes to relax, rejuvenate and replenish our spirit. As such, I felt compelled to respond to a letter I recently received encouraging residents to voice disapproval for the proposed offshore wind farm.

As my family owns several homes in this community, I was first interested in the financial argument surrounding home prices and tourism related jobs. As I researched further, I found substantial evidence that the offshore wind farm will actually benefit tourism and tourism-related industries.

In a recent Goucher Poll of 671 Maryland residents, 75 percent said that seeing the wind turbines would have no impact on their decision to vacation in Ocean City and 12 percent said they would increase their likelihood of visiting. (Kromer M, Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, Goucher College, Sept. 21, 2017.)

In addition, Sage Policy Group conducted a study that found the presence of wind turbines will not have a negative impact on property values or tourism. In fact, “the presence of wind turbines can stimulate tourism activity,” according to Anirban Basu, CEO of Sage Policy Group. (“Study suggests OC wind farm will not negatively impact tourism,” EnergyCentral, Aug. 28, 2017.)

By comparison, the potential risk to home values and tourism is much more substantial if we don’t take steps to combat climate change.

The Union of Concerned Scientists says 13,000 properties in Sussex County are at risk of chronic flooding in 2045. That might seem like a long way away, 26 years, but it’s not, considering how long many of us have been enjoying this beach. In my case, 37 years.

In addition to the personal loss this represents, it is also 10 percent of the property tax base, which funds vital services, schools and infrastructure. (Dahl K. Cleetus R, Spanger-Siegfried E, Udvardy S, Caldas A, Worth P.  Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate; Union of Concerned Scientists, June 18, 2018.) All this before we consider the effects increased cost of flood insurance could have on property values.

Many of us enjoy the natural beauty of Delaware, and many people in our community rely on it for their livelihoods, so the mentions of damage to marine life and related jobs are of particular concern. Again, the research I found strongly challenged the assumptions listed in the above-mentioned letter.

While the data is inconclusive as to the effects that underwater sound has on marine life, there are some potential positive outcomes in places where ocean wind farms have been operating for the longest. This includes increased fish populations around turbines, referred to as the “reef effect” and a comprehensive study from Sweden showing no impact on eelpouts living in the wind farm versus those in other natural areas. (Langhamer, O., Dahlgren, T. G., & Rosenqvist, G. (2018). Effect of an offshore wind farm on the viviparous eelpout: Biometrics, brood development and population studies in Lillgrund, Sweden. Ecological Indicators, 84, 1– 6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.08.035.)

With respect to the dolphins that I have loved spotting in our oceans, a study in Amsterdam found harbor porpoise clicks were significantly more frequent in the vicinity of the operating wind farm when compared to other areas. (Scheidat, M., Tougaard, J., Brasseur, S., Carstensen, J., van Polanen Petel, T., Teilmann, J., & Reijnders, P. (2011). Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) and wind farms: a case study in the Dutch North Sea. Environmental Research Letters, 6(2), 025102. https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/6/2/025102)

This increase in harbor porpoise clicks has also been reported in the North Sea and Scottish offshore wind farms. This could be due, in part, to the increased fish populations or “reef effect” mentioned above.

The letters author is correct: the Delaware Bay is home to the world’s largest population of horseshoe crabs. However, the available studies show there is a very low chance of any damage to this population, particularly in the long term. The construction of the wind farm has a higher chance of creating damage than the ongoing operation of the farm.

The author cites concern for electronic fields created by the generators on marine life. Wind generators do create vibrations during operation that are generally below 1kHz. As it happens, this is exactly the same as sand dredging machines, which we have had to deploy with increasing frequency as storm damage becomes more severe.

The period of concern should be focused on the construction process. One important point is that the construction of the wind farm will be carefully planned and only a one-time disturbance. In addition, the work on this wind farm will be informed by two years of underwater microphones, which were installed off the coast of Maryland to track marine life. The researchers will use the data to minimize the impact of construction on the ocean life. (Science Daily, Sourced from University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Oct. 16, 2014.)

The risks can be mitigated, as opposed to dredging. The ongoing dredging efforts stand to have a worse long-term impact on our ocean for the reason Steve Rochette, public relations officer with the Army Corps of Engineers, pointed out last year. He said, “We try to avoid working in the summer months, but there is a limited number of dredges around the country with the capability to do this type of work, so delays on other projects have impacted the schedule for work in Bethany.”

NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) lists the horseshoe crab as at a very high risk for negative effects of climate change. One way they are at risk is that they are long-living and slow-growing with a spawning cycle that is specific to beaches and the lunar cycle. The EPA reports that the ocean will rise one inch every seven years in Delaware. This means that low lands will be submerged and salinity of estuaries will increase. (United States Environmental Protection Agency, What Climate Change Means for Delaware, August 2016, EPA 430-F-16-010.)

This will result in reduced horseshoe crab larval production and a decrease in horseshoe crab population. (Galbraith H, Jones R, Park R, Clough J, Herrod-Julius S, Harrington B, Page G. Global climate change and sea level rise: potential losses of intertidal habitat for shorebirds. Waterbirds. 2002; 25(2): 173-183. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1675/15244695(2002)025[0173:GCCASL]2.0.CO;2)

The offshore wind farm is helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep ocean levels in check and save the horseshoe crabs from this fate. In addition, the wind farm will be located 13 miles off the coast, i.e. at least 13 miles from the entrance to the Delaware Bay where horseshoe crabs procreate. An article in Marine Ecology Progress Series referenced six cases where whales showed signs of avoidance during construction of offshore wind farms of 1.3 to 7.2 km, 0.8 to 4.47 miles. (Madsen P.T., Wahlberg M. Tougaard J, Lucke K, Tyack P, Wind turbine underwater noise and marine mammals: implications of current knowledge and data needs, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 309: 279-295, 2006.)

As a self-proclaimed “environmental intervener,” I was pleased to see that the Public Service Commission of Maryland acknowledged, “Specifically, the Environmental Intervenors request that approval of either proposed OSW [Offshore Windfarm] project be conditioned on limitations to construction and certain other activities during the peak migration season for endangered right whales.

“The additional protective measures suggested by the Environmental Intervenors include items such as enhanced real-time human monitoring for whale activity in the site area, restriction of activities to daylight hours, and the use of noise-reducing tools and technologies, and a lower speed limit for vessels in the area.” The commission concurred, requiring the developers to adopt all these measures. (Order No: 88192, Before the Public Commission of Maryland, Case No. 9431, May 11, 2017.)

The reasons to express my support for this wind farm extend beyond just those cited in this letter but boil down to this: the long-term negative impacts of increased emissions will have a significantly greater negative impact on our community.

Removing the environmental argument, you are left with an aesthetic one, to which I say this: my generation and the one following me will not just expect renewable sources, they will not purchase property in communities that don’t display an aggressive effort to protect the natural resources and the physical structures in which they are investing.

Olivia Millar
Bethany Beach

 

Environment a concern for this reader

Editor:

I am very concerned about the environmental condition of Dirickson Creek. Previous developments in the drainage basin to this inland bay continue to increase runoff and negatively affect the water quality. In fact, the creek’s water quality is some of the worst in the entire state of Delaware.

Preservation of wetlands and associated hydric soils, as a part of a complex ecological system, is vital to the health of our waterways. Wetlands, along with hydric soils (soils that absorb runoff much like a sponge and help create wetlands), act as first filters to clean surface water runoff, control erosion and flooding. Wetlands also protect water quality and provide a habitat for fish, wildlife and plant species.

Another new proposed development, called Old Mill Landing, is currently planned for a 184-acre site on the north side of Dirickson Creek, along Old Mill Bridge Road. This project will add an additional 227 homes to an already overcrowded area and have a negative effect on our environment.

The new homes are planned to be built on hydric soils, which are not structurally sound. In fact, DNREC, in their review of the project in the latest PLUS report, recommended that this site is not buildable due to the presence of these hydric soils. Building on these soils, by importing structural fill dirt, will increase surface water runoff, decrease the filtering of this surface water and contribute to future flooding.

Now is your opportunity to let Sussex County Planning & Zoning (P&Z) know that uncontrolled development must not continue. Our group, Dirickson Creek Friends, is working to decrease the negative environmental impact of the Old Mill Landing Development. We will appear at the Sussex County P&Z hearing to strongly recommend that amendments to the proposed development are needed to preserve wetlands and hydric soils, preserve mature trees and protect Dirickson Creek.

The hearing will be on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, at the County [Council] Chambers, 2 The Circle, Georgetown, DE, starting at 6 p.m. We urge residents to attend the hearing, to testify if they can, and also to express their opinions on this matter to the Planning & Zoning Commission at https://sussexcountyde.gov/contact-planning-zoning-commission or at P.O. Box 417, Georgetown, DE 19947.

Everyone’s voice counts!

Carl Nelson
Frankford

 

Prettyman thankful for support, love

Editor:

I just don’t have the words to thank you all enough for the kindness and generosity you have showered on us since we lost our home. I am so blessed to have the support system I do have in times of need. Tami and Murray Oltman have been my rock through some very difficult times, but the help we have received over the last two months goes far beyond family support.

The daughter of a friend, Jess Pfohl, started a Go Fund Me. Customers of Sea Level Designs, friends, acquaintances and strangers started dropping off checks, gift cards, clothing for all of us and toys for my granddaughter.

Then a group of people started a fundraiser. Ellen McCreary of the Cottage Café banded with the Oltmans and others to create a dine-and-donate event. It was overwhelmed by the donations that poured in: restaurants, spas, gyms, pet stores, stores from Rehoboth to Ocean City sent gift baskets and gift cards to be auctioned.

The Cottage Café graciously hosted the event; DJ Bump donated his time. The Coastal Point made sure word got out, and stores posted flyers everywhere. This small band of warriors organized and worked tirelessly to create a wonderful event.

I am told it was one of the biggest dine-and-donates ever held at the Cottage Café. Those of you who know me will know how overwhelming that is. I was so worried hardly anybody would come — it is, after all, the holidays, and not that many people even know me.

But come you did, in an outpouring of love, kindness and more generosity. The owners and staff of the Cottage Café helped make sure everything was perfect, and their kindness will be in my heart forever. The event and its success is the sign of being in a community that really takes care of its own.

Thank you, thank you to all that came, that worked, all the donated, all that just came by to share stories of how they got through something similar.

I am counting my blessings today, and there are many.

Sandy Prettyman
Dagsboro

 

Santa enjoyed recent trip to Ocean View

Editor:

Ho! Ho! Ho! Greetings from the North Pole!

I’ve had the pleasure of coming to Ocean View for years to listen to children’s wishes for Christmas. I am so grateful to the Millville fire department for providing a fire engine and the Ocean View police for escorting me to John West Park. This is a great way to get to Ocean View since there isn’t enough snow for my sled and reindeer.

Listening to the children and what they wish for Christmas is a privilege. This year there were two children whose only wish for Christmas was for world peace. How special of them at such a young age to be so unselfish about their own wishes and want something for everyone!

There were over 200 people waiting for Santa when the fire engine arrived. Some of the children were so in love with Santa that they came running to escort me to the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony and even were hugging me as soon as I got off the engine.

I always ask the children questions before they tell me what they want. I always ask their name and age. Sometimes it’s a quiz to see how much they know about me and my reindeer. Everyone gets a candy cane.

Sometimes their answers surprise me or make me laugh. I asked one little boy if he had been a good boy and obeyed his mother and father. He quickly responded, “Yes.” Then I asked if he had brother and sisters. He again quickly responded, “Yes.” Then I asked if he ever fought with his brother and sisters. He looked at me and was thinking, “Uh-oh, but he responded, ‘Yes when they annoy me.’ I then asked if after the fights, do you think about what you did. He nodded and said, “Yes, I won!” I had a hard time not laughing at that response.

Everyone loves Santa! Even the parents, groups of girlfriends, police officers, town officials and others want their picture with me. Just look at the town’s Facebook page. I’ve had many mothers who have told me they always love being around Santa. There are always a few toddlers that are afraid when they first meet Santa. I told one crying toddler, “That’s OK, I’ll be back next year and you’re going to love me!”

With a promise like that, I look forward to coming back to Ocean View next year.

Santa Claus
North Pole

 

Reader puts support behind Trump

Editor:

One of Socrates’ quotes is “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

Franklin Graham recently said, “These impeachment proceedings are unbelievable. The truth has nothing to do with it. It’s about lying — and spinning lies. The president’s enemies have been attempting to remove him from office, using anything they could, including the FBI and the media, and now a phone call to the Ukraine.”

“Georgia Congressman Doug Collins was right when he said that the calendar is what is driving the impeachment push, not the facts. It’s all about discrediting President Donald Trump before the next election. Everybody knows it, but yet it still continues. The only hope for our country is God.”

The letter that prompted this letter fails to mention the many things this president has done that has infuriated his enemies.

• Worked hard to keep his campaign promises.

• Invigorated our economy that is now the envy of the world.

• His pro-America policies have pushed the stock market to new highs.

• His support for and strengthening of our military.

• His efforts to secure our borders in spite of constant obstruction.

• His ongoing efforts to renegotiate trade deals to keep Americans working.

• America’s unemployment rate keeps falling. The United States economy added 266,00 jobs for the month of November and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, which matched the lowest level in 50 years.

• His strong support of one of our staunchest allies, Israel.

• Has kept us out of wars with Korea, China, Russia and Iran by words not guns.

• The president had the courage to declare his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement that allowed “developing countries,” like China and India in particular, a wider latitude to achieve their own climate goals while placing unfair standards on American efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions and have negative effects on job growth, hinder manufacturing, etc. This decision was largely symbolic, because it will take four years to complete, ending on Nov. 4, 2020. The president stands ready to negotiate a fair climate agreement.

• And most infuriating of all to his enemies is, this president is pro-life. He has been been appointing federal and Supreme Court judges that are Constitutionalists and have a record of protecting all of us, including the unborn.

During his address to the United Nations on Sept. 24, 2029, President Trump “called out global bureaucrats for trying to impose abortion on demand on nations that respect the right to life.” He further stated, “We are aware that many United Nations projects have attempted to assert a global right to taxpayer-funded abortion on demand, right up until the moment of delivery.” “Global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life.”

• This president has repeatedly followed up on his pledge to donate his presidential salary rather than to further enrich himself.

I could go on and on, but, needless to say, I put my support behind President Donald Trump.

Clifford Wolfe
Frankford