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The Congressman who would kill wind -- and 9,000 jobs

Renewable energy is the world’s fastest growing energy sector and wind energy is its fastest growing single renewable energy source. More than 54 GW of wind power was installed across the global market in 2016. 

While onshore wind still predominates, dramatic advances in technology combined with falling costs are also making offshore wind an attractive proposition. Yet, despite its extensive coastlines, the U.S. has lagged woefully and unforgivably behind in this sector.

But two new offshore wind projects planned for the Maryland coastline off Ocean City, are now in jeopardy. U.S. Wind and Skipjack Offshore Energy have been pursuing — for too many years already — the arduous process of approval for an offshore wind farm that would be the biggest in the U.S. The project is predicted to create more than 9,000 jobs for the region. But one man wants to kill it.

That man is Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican member of the Maryland Congressional delegation. Last week he introduced — and successfully got passed — an amendment in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee that effectively blocks the use of federal money to review site assessment or construction and operation plans for wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from the State of Maryland shoreline. 

That, say the developers, could kill the project dead. Those 9,000 jobs are poised for annihilation if the amendment is adopted by the full House and approved by the Senate, a strong possibility given the Republican control of both Houses.

Rep. Harris is wrong on so many counts. But he is up for re-election in 2018. We are calling on Marylanders to hold Harris to account. Here is our op-ed.