ANNAPOLIS – In a vivid illustration of the clear connection between energy and public health, more than two dozen doctors and nurses -- wearing scrubs and lab coats and holding pro-wind signs -- today demonstrated in favor of Governor Martin O’Malley’s Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2012 (HB 441/SB 237) in Annapolis. Small business leaders also spoke out as part of a “Healthy Lives, Healthy Economy” event near the steps of the State House.
Speakers, in their white lab coats and scrubs, focused on the health benefits associated with offshore wind energy development. The provisions in Governor O’Malley’s 2012 wind bill would save more than 300 lives and nearly $2 billion in health costs over 20 years.
Dr. Catherine Thomasson, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility, said, “Replacing dirty coal with clean renewable energy like offshore wind power will improve the health of our children and society’s most vulnerable populations.”
Recent polling shows that the number one reason that Maryland voters support offshore wind power after job creation is due to the significant health concerns related to the combustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel pollution contributes to respiratory illnesses, asthma attacks, and mortality rates -- particularly in children and the elderly.
“We cannot afford to continue paying higher medical bills for asthma attacks, emergency room visits, and lung disease” said Ewa Krason, Field Organizer with Environment Maryland.
“Why settle for more bad air days and premature deaths from dirty coal when we can advance clean wind generation?” Dr. Thomasson added.
Maryland business leaders were also on hand to focus on how the bill spurs economic growth and job creation in the state, while stabilizing the volatile energy prices that many small business owners have been facing.
"The small business community understands the importance of smart, forward-thinking investments towards energy cost stability," says Donna Bethke, President of the Overlea Fullerton Business and Professionals Association, which represents 74 small businesses and working professionals in Baltimore County. "That's why my organization and hundreds of small businesses throughout Maryland fully support offshore wind energy."
Ross Tyler, coordinator for the Business Coalition for Maryland Offshore Wind, was also on hand to speak to the economic benefits of offshore wind power.
“Maryland business leaders have a very good reason to support the offshore wind bill: job creation,” explained Tyler. “This legislation would bring more than 1,500 long-lasting jobs to the state and help to position Maryland as the leader for a new, homegrown American industry. An opportunity this bright just can’t be ignored.”
“With the Persian Gulf of wind power just off our coast, this new American industry will take off whether we, as Marylanders, are on board or not” added Krason.