Letters to the Editor

Reader finds issue with wind-farm deal

Editor:

I read the January 17, 2020 Letters to the Editor section of the Coastal Point with great interest. The letters were very good and strong about the proposed Wind Farm “deal” in Fenwick. After attending the Public Hearing in Ocean City today, my original viewpoints have strengthened and moved me even more to write this letter. 

Whether you are for or against wind farms – whether you are for or against renewable energy – whether you think these windmills are visual pollution and will obstruct the viewscape, the viewshed, the horizon, or sunrise are not the central issues to Delawareans – especially those who live or own properties in coastal Delaware.

This argument should be about an unbelievably, one-sided BAD deal that is an insult-or worse-to the residents of Sussex County and the state of Delaware.

From the letters it appears the “deal” was approved by the Secretary of DNREC. If he made this “deal” on his own, many questions should be asked of him…and of whoever appointed and approved him to that position.

A $Multi-BILLION Dutch Company does a “deal” to make a massive profit for a project that will benefit themselves and Maryland – as emphasized by multiple speakers at the Public Hearing who stated Maryland will yield at least $50M in revenue, substantially reduced utility costs and create many Maryland jobs. While Delawareans get a pittance for the “outhouse” of the project and none of the renewable energy! Some say it could be a one-time payment of $18M from a $Multi-BILLION company. That doesn’t remotely sound like a good “deal” to me!

A bad “deal” is a bad “deal.” Personally, I applaud all of those who are taking it on and not being intimidated by the $Multi-BILLION Dutch company, their PR firm, or the Delaware officials and politicians. 

Delawareans need to stand up and hold folks accountable for their “deal.” I do a lot of work in D.C. and often hear comments about elected Delaware politicians who are “experts” on national issues yet do so very little for their own small state. Maybe some of them will step forward on this bad “deal” for Delaware. Our local politicians need to clarify their viewpoints and Governor Carney needs to explain how Delaware ended up with the VERY short end of the stick. Some say it’s a “done deal” and there is nothing to be done. After attending the Hearing today, I am even more convinced that Delaware is left holding the bag, or as some have called it the “outhouse.” Not one person asked or commented on the location of the transmission center in beautiful Fenwick State Park – they are just darn happy it’s not in their back yard. I can’t blame them – once they get their viewscape back (successfully dealing to get the windmills moved further east) and the transmission center running in Delaware they are on to making millions and applauded for becoming a “renewable energy state!” 

You may love wind energy, you may hate it or you may be indifferent. However, Delaware leaders need to stand up for Delaware and kill the out-maneuvered Delaware part of this “deal.” 

Robbie Callaway
South Bethany

 

Friends of Millsboro library offer thanks

Editor:

2019 marked the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of the Millsboro Public Library. We’d like to thank the community for supporting our antiquities appraisal event in March, our annual book sale, and our dine-and-donate events at Wayback Burgers and Blue Water Grill. These fundraisers help subsidize the Library’s Summer Reading Program for children in our community, the future patrons of our library.

We invite new members to join us as we begin our second 25 years. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month, September through June (except December), at 6:30 p.m. at the library, 217 W. State Street, across from the Millsboro Little League field.

Be part of the Friends and be part of a meaningful community group. Visit the Friends of the Millsboro Library Facebook page to learn more or contact friendsofmillsboropl@gmail.com for further information.

Kathy Salamone, President
Friends of the Millsboro Public Library

 

Trees are victims of county’s growth

Editor:

My message to fellow Delawareans is simple: Leave the last stands of natural forest in Sussex County alone.

I’m passionate about preserving existing forests for environmental reasons but especially now that scientists are realizing that when decades or centuries-old forests are removed they cannot be replaced by simply planting more trees.

Worldwide, people are trying desperately to replant forests for so many important reasons: to prevent flooding, to curb erosion, for carbon capture, to protect biodiversity, for shade and temperature moderation, and, of course, for supplying oxygen.

But, in fact, only nature can create a healthy forest, because a natural forest is a hierarchy of life that evolves at a specific location that cannot be artificially created. When we destroy a natural forest, it’s gone forever. The trees that survive, the birds, insects and wildlife that live and feed there, the fungi that create the underground networks that transport nutrients to tree roots in exchange for sugars — all contribute to the health and success of each and every tree.

Communities have been replanting trees in bare areas, only to find them struggle to survive without the right community of life to sustain them.

And recent research on forests is absolutely fascinating.

For example, it’s been shown that in a natural forest, mother trees actually feed their seedling offspring through their root systems to keep them alive until they grow tall enough to reach sunlight and photosynthesize their own sugars. And trees in forests actually alert nearby trees of insect and disease dangers by sending chemical warnings through the air, and through their fungal and root networks.

In essence, trees grow tall and strong when they are standing in a grove where the winds and the weight of snow and ice are shared by the entire group. It’s rare for a single tree to ever live a healthy normal lifespan.

The forested areas that still exist in Sussex County are typically found where the ground was unsuitable for agriculture and, in many cases, have remained undisturbed for many decades. We need to keep these forests and their fragile ecosystems intact and alive.

Stop a minute to consider all the lifeforms in Sussex County and realize how interconnected they are. Forests provide food and shelter for mammals, birds and invertebrates. Forests harbor rich diversities of wildlife, but we are experiencing population decline across the board for local wildlife. Delaware state scientists note “Larger, connected forest blocks are extremely important for species that require interior forested areas for breeding, such as neotropical migratory birds. This type of habitat also provides an important stopover for these birds as they undertake lengthy migrations.”

North America has, in fact, lost one in four birds since 1970. Scientists have determined that 2.9 billion adult birds have been lost in the last 50 years. Tragically, 2.5 billion of those lost were migratory. A significant reason for the decline is habitat loss caused by human development. Coastal Sussex County, due to its geographic location, is one of the most vital stops for migrating birds on the Atlantic flyway. We must maintain any remaining forests for these migrants.

Retaining existing forests is essential. They form the bedrock of our entire ecosystem and food web. We need to begin to assign a higher value to our natural habitats when making decisions, and we need to keep their importance in mind.

Not only are forests essential for their role as home to great biodiversity, but also for the health of our waterways. Trees are 50 percent water and act as water towers, helping to alleviate potential flooding and erosion along creeks and on the land. Their massive intertwined root systems act like dikes to keep the soil in place and filter out pollutants from water flowing into waterways. A watershed expert used the analogy that “forests and wetlands are like the kidneys of our landscape, filtering out toxins.”

Our county is being transformed from farmland into one sprawling housing development after another.

One of the goals stated in Sussex County’s new Comprehensive Plan was to limit building in cluster developments to “the environmentally suitable portions of the tract — specifically those portions of the tract least encumbered by sensitive environmental features, including (but not limited to) wetlands, mature woodlands, waterways and other water bodies.”

Additionally, the plan calls for setting aside “lands of extraordinary environmental importance.” From what we now know, land that still contains mature forest should be considered of extraordinary environmental importance and left undisturbed.

But mature trees are not incompatible with housing developments. In fact, mature trees add value to residential areas and provide benefits, both physically and psychologically. Developers today should get creative and reconfigure their housing developments to take advantage of any existing natural forests and build only on already cleared farmland.

Sussex County officials already determined that wetlands are too important to disturb, and buffer zones and building restrictions have been implemented near them. But we need to realize that forests are equally important and create buffers and building restrictions to protect them also. I’m aware of a developer’s economic incentive to utilize every square foot of land to maximize profit, but in the case of mature forests, there is just no way to justify their removal for financial gain. They are, in reality, irreplaceable and therefore priceless.

So I humbly ask developers to stop designing projects that encroach on any existing forests and that the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission prohibit developers from removing existing forests in their land-use plans. I also hope the public will get behind this critical goal before it is too late. Use this new decade to begin implementing this important Sussex County Comprehensive Plan goal. It would be a bold and responsible move, and one that current — and future — citizens and voters of Sussex County would applaud.

Merril Levesque
Frankford

 

MERR wants more research on wind farm

Editor:

The urgency to move towards sustainable energy sources has never been more urgent than it is at this time.

Consumer use of fossil fuels has created a warming climate that is threatening the survival of many species and the environment as a whole. As we navigate toward sustainable energy solutions, we need to exercise caution in the choices we support, and apprise ourselves of the most current information regarding these choices.

As defenders of marine life and ocean habitat, the Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute (MERR) views offshore wind farms as a detrimental choice amongst fossil fuel alternatives because the adverse impacts on wildlife are so substantive, and empirical data on the risks to the marine environment is lacking and/or incomplete.

The Delaware Bay and coastline provide essential habitat for migrating whales, shorebirds and butterflies, as well as providing foraging grounds for sea turtles, birthing and feeding grounds for bottlenose and other dolphin species, and winter habitat for seals.

Large whales, such as humpback, fin and the severely endangered North Atlantic right whale, have used their ancient migratory pathways along the Delaware Coast for eons of time, and utilize the rich feeding grounds of the Delaware Bay and surrounding waters to feed and to teach their young how to forage on their own.

Bottlenose dolphins reside in Delaware waters for nine months out of the year, from February through October, making up the largest northerly population in existence. Sea turtles navigate thousands of miles annually using the earth’s electromagnetic fields as their guide. These will guide them to foraging grounds in the Delaware Bay, and to nesting beaches further south.

Every organism in the marine ecosystem is interdependent, relying on long established feeding and breeding grounds for their survival and for the survival of their species. Fragmenting any portion of this ecosystem with disruptive forces takes its toll on every species, including humans.

The installation of offshore wind farms, accompanied by high-voltage cables under the ocean floor create an industrial fragmentation of the marine ecosystem, the effects of which will include but are not limited to, increased underwater noise pollution, toxic emissions, thermal radiation, interference with the earth’s naturally occurring electromagnetic fields, obstacles to migration routes, displacement of species, loss of prey, and masking that can cause separation of mother from offspring when they can no longer hear one another against the backdrop of other invasive sounds.

Current studies show that offshore wind farms are considered an apex predator, while large whales are considered the cornerstone species for the health of the planet, making protection of their habitat vital to every living creature.

Whales contribute more toward mitigating climate change than any other organism or system by way of being the primary source of fertilization for microscopic phytoplankton, upon which every other organism depends. Phytoplankton in turn captures carbon and produces half of the world’s oxygen.

This interdependent system illustrates the essential role of all organisms towards the earth’s health and balance, and necessitates a big picture approach to any proposal that would create industrial intrusion into the ocean.

We urge decision makers not to rush toward an alternative energy system that has not been adequately researched for long-term impacts, and in the short term is proven to be detrimental to many species of wildlife, ecosystems and neighboring communities.

There is no need to accept the lesser of the evils when we have access to existing, far less detrimental forms of sustainable energy and systems, such as solar, geo-thermal, and net-zero housing. These far-reaching decisions should not be based upon the financial incentives provided by utility companies but rather on the best interests of marine ecosystem conservation and the welfare of coastal communities.

Suzanne Thurman, Executive Director
Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute (MERR)

 

Reddington announces mayoral ambitions

Editor:

In the past 15 years, I have watched as the town of Ocean View has grown and prospered. There were down periods in the town, but then with changes in the town council, things improved under Walt Curran’s leadership as mayor.

His term limits prevent him from a third term. So, I have decided to run for mayor and try to keep the ship sailing in the right direction. I want to see Ocean View continue to prosper and remain a safe, beautiful and viable place to live.

I’m fiscally conservative, believing in balanced budgets and that not all improvements in a town’s budget requires a tax increase. I believe in friendly but competent governance. I believe in open communications in a respectful manner. I believe in public safety in our schools, places of worship and throughout our community. I believe in trying to preserve our small-town atmosphere while ensuring our economic development.

In 2002, I visited a friend in Ocean View and fell in love with the town. Within a week of the visit, I contracted to have a condo built in Bear Trap Dunes. Within two years, I bought a single-family home and made plans to spend the rest of my life in the town of Ocean View. I loved everything about the town: small population, close to the beach, friendly people, lots of amenities, low taxes and just about everything I needed close by.

I retired from the government and private sector in 2013, and finally began living the dream. As I have always believed in volunteerism as a strong cornerstone to democracy, I also believed in paying it back.

So, I immediately sought out volunteer activities. I volunteered at the Veterans Affairs clinic in Georgetown one day a week for a few years. I continue to volunteer at the Ocean View police station one day a week and have spent over four years on the Board of Adjustments for the Town of Ocean View. I have done other volunteer activities, including president of the home owners association of the Village of Bear Trap Dunes for three years, have been the town Santa Claus for three years, and helped fund a refurbished walkway to an old WWII radar site.

My background includes 25 years as a Foreign Service officer traveling or living overseas in more than 70 countries promoting U.S. trade. I have another 15 years in the private sector as a president of trade associations and sitting on association boards to promote U.S. trade.

I have a MS degree from Purdue University in economics and wrote my thesis on predicting communities’ future viability based on its business decisions. I managed budgets from thousands of dollars for small companies to billions of dollars for the U.S. government. I understand finance, governance, public relations, community development and the operations of management.

I want to use my skills, if elected as the new mayor of Ocean View, to ensure that our town is one of the best places to live in Delaware.

John Reddington
Ocean View

 

Reader responds to party shakeup

Editor:

I am amused by the Delaware Republican Party’s attempts to convince people that the recent offensive comments by two of their officials is not representative of the party (“Pair of Delaware Republican officials under fire after comments”). In fact, that is who the Republican Party is.

This is the party whose leader aggressively insults those who disagree with him (even if they are deceased!), and retweets images that are plainly false and inflammatory. This is the party whose members attack those of the other party with incendiary and extremely personal attacks.

This happens repeatedly because the party turns a blind eye to such incivility.

In 2017, conservative columnist George Will wrote, “Today, conservatism is soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients. America needs a reminder of conservatism before vulgarians hijacked it.”

Lastly, before the death of Sen. John McCain, his campaign advisor said the GOP was “corrupt, indecent and immoral.” Yes, that is today’s Republican Party.

Dean Schleicher
Ocean View

 

Drive to benefit veterans a huge hit

Editor:

The annual GFWC Selbyville Community Club’s “Coats & Sweats for Vets” campaign was a great success this December. In total, 952 items were collected. This included 246 men’s coats and sweats, and 169 women’s coats and jackets. New and nearly new socks totaled 254 pair. In addition, there were many other items, like children’s coats, fleece vests, hats, gloves and scarves.

Today, representatives of the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans transported the items to their center in Wilmington, from which they will be distributed throughout the state.

As public issues chairman for the GFWC Selbyville Community Club, I want to extend my personal and the club’s thanks to the generous people of Selbyville and surrounding areas. The response to our campaign was astounding, and its results truly serve to assist our veterans as they undergo the transition from military to civilian life.

We thank the Coastal Point newspaper for its coverage of the campaign, which certainly increased awareness, making this year’s collection the most successful ever.

Thank you, Sussex County!

Rita Hollada, Public Issues Chairman
GFWC Selbyville Community Club