There is a new lobbying force in Annapolis on the subject of wind power, and it generates power from a higher source. It would be correct to say this new lobbying force has a flock — several flocks, actually. The leaders are so powerful that, in some cases, they have God on speed dial.
I am speaking of the rabbis, nuns, priests, imams and other religious leaders who, according to the Gazette, make up a group of 36 Prince George’s clergy officials backing our governor’s efforts to bring offshore wind power to the state.
They are fed up with the environmental downsides of power plants that burn coal where they and their flock live. In a letter supporting wind power sent to state legislators, they wrote: “Power plants and coal ash dumps aren’t in our communities by coincidence; it is environmental racism.”
The Gazette report notes that “Maryland’s major coal-burning power plants are mostly in the Washington-Baltimore region, including Chalk Point near Aquasco in southernmost Prince George’s County.” Also, coal ash dumped in Brandywine “has been blamed for leaking carcinogenic chemicals into drinking water.”
“As clergy we recognize the core issue is the impact this has on people, particularly poor persons and persons of color,” said the Rev. Kip Banks Sr., pastor of East Washington Heights Baptist Church, adding “We see this as a moral issue.”
Wind power is a key part of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s 2012 agenda. He got a boost to his wind dreams earlier this month, when Obama administration officials said that wind farms off the Mid-Atlantic coast would not cause environmental damage.
O’Malley is scheduled to testify Tuesday in support of a wind power bill before the Senate Finance Committee. He wants a fifth of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources within a decade. Critics contend the project would be too costly, and this newspaper’s editorial page called O’Malley’s plan “misguided.”
The clergy’s take on the issue is a new wrinkle I hadn’t seen yet. What do you think of the issue?