The environment needs leadership

This letter to the editor appeared in the Annapolis Capital Gazette.

As an environmental advocate and lifelong Marylander, I was heartened to see strong environmental candidates prevail in many of Tuesday’s races throughout the state. However, conservationists didn’t fare so well across the country. Money from oil and coal companies lines the pockets of many of our newest members of Congress, dozens of who deny the reality of climate change.

The GOP is the only political party in the world that includes climate change denial as a fundamental component of its political platform. Republican legislators don’t just oppose climate action – they oppose the very idea of climate change. These individuals equate science and religion – they believe what they like and reject the rest. This denial persists despite the fact that anthropogenic climate change is one of the most agreed-upon theories in science. Consequently, strong federal climate change and clean energy legislation will likely be stalled for at least the next two years.

We must do at the state level what Congress will not – move away from dangerous and dirty fossil fuels in lieu of clean energy alternatives. Maryland should develop its substantial offshore wind power potential as soon as possible in a show of leadership.

Offshore wind has the potential to bring thousands of well-paying jobs to our state, while providing the equivalent of two-thirds of the state’s current electricity needs. Environmental and labor groups, as well as Governor O’Malley have already pledged their support for Maryland offshore wind. I encourage my fellow Marylanders to reach out to their state representatives to pledge their support as well. The Free State already boasts some of the nation’s most stalwart environmental laws. It’s time that we also take the lead on clean offshore power.

JAMIE NOLAN
Trappe

The writer is Communications Director for the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.