After about nine years of meetings, forums and negotiations followed by objections from federal, state, county and local officials that failed to push offshore wind turbines farther offshore two online petitions have emerged, essentially asking the same thing.
One has been filed via petitions.whitehouse.gov, an Obama-era service allowing people to petition the federal government or force it to take a position or explain a policy or issue, should it reach the required number of signatures within a certain time frame.
The petition must reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days to prompt a response. However, according to published reports, 16 petitions have done so during the Trump administration without a response.
As of press time, according to the website, the petition has garnered 442 signatures, and will need another 99,558 by May 11 to receive a federal response on the issue.
The other petition, appearing on moveon.org, has 493 signatures as of press time. There is no threshold for response, as the signed petitions are emailed to those who are listed by the founding group as recipients. Included in the recipients are President Donald Trump, Gov. Larry Hogan, the U.S. House of Representatives, The U.S. Senate, the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland State Senate.
It is unclear who exactly started the petitions, or if some have signed both petitions.
Each petition asks to have the leasing areas where turbines could be located moved 26 nautical miles offshore. For U.S. Wind at least, this rule would be fatal to the project, since 26 miles away is outside of the leasing area as determined by the federal government.
The resort itself isn’t quite ready to give up the fight either, as it released its May 2018 newsletter under the headline “OC supports green, unseen wind farms.”
“With the construction of windmills off Ocean City’s coast– each structure more than twice the height of the tallest building in Ocean City and blades the length of a football field – there is no question they will be visible from our shoreline especially when they are lit up at night,” Mayor Rick Meehan is quoted in the article. “It is a threat to our environment, our property values, our economy, and the future of Ocean City. It is simply irresponsible.”
Meehan also publicly endorsed the moveon.com petition by linking it from his public Facebook profile, as did council members Tony DeLuca, Mary Knight and Dennis Dare.