Governor Martin O’Malley Introduces the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act

On January 22, 2013, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley held a press conference at the Maryland State House to introduce the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013, a legislative move that is supported by the Maryland  State Conference of the NAACP.  This 200 MW project, under the Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard, would create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for five years and an additional 160 ongoing supply and Operations & Maintenance jobs thereafter.  The project would also help Maryland reach its goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% by2015.

Governor O'Malley said the following at the press conference: 

In this competitive New Economy, the states that win will be those that succeed in leveraging innovation into job creation and economic growth. In Maryland, our emerging green sector is a critically important part of our Innovation Economy, and therefore our ability to create jobs and compete globally. By choosing to move forward with this legislation, we’re not only creating jobs, but we are also laying the groundwork for a better, more sustainable future for our children.

The Governor was joined in support of the bill by members of Maryland’s General Assembly, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, members of the Business Coalition for Maryland Offshore Wind, members of the Maryland Climate Coalition, and Gerald Stansbury, president of NAACP’s Maryland State Conference.  Under the Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard, this 200 MW project would create almost 850 manufacturing and construction jobs for five years and an additional 160 ongoing operations and maintenance jobs thereafter.  The project would also help Maryland reach its goal of reducing energy consumption by 15% by2015.
Stansbury connected the hardships of environmental and climate justice with the struggle for civil rights:

While the injustices of pollution-driven climate change may not be as obvious as other inequities the NAACP has battled over the last 100 years, it has disastrous consequences for all, and some groups suffer more than others.

Throughout his speech, Stansbury referred to economic challenges facing poor communities and communities of color. Both groups are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel pollution and climate change.  He also reminded us of the economic benefits related to the wind bill, especially for people of color.

Many of the bill’s advocates say passing the Offshore Wind Bill is important for Maryland Christine Hill of the Maryland Sierra Club stated:

 It’s critical the Maryland state legislature passes a strong offshore wind bill this session to create more jobs in Maryland and provide clean energy to our communities, all while reducing our dependence on dirty fuels like coal that contribute to climate disruption.

Robert Wallace of BITH Energy, a renewable energy Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), suggested wind energy as a future trend for of Maryland and the entire nation, as suggested during the recent presidential inauguration:

President Obama said we must plan for the future, we must also capture the future.

Wallace also touted the benefits the wind bill will bring to other Minority Business Enterprises.

The diverse support shown for the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act serves as an excellent example of the collaboration necessary to build a green economy.  Stansbury quoted Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in reminding supporters, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”  If the dream is 200 MW of offshore wind power, the coalition and supporters are well on the way to making it work.