What the People Want

John J. Walters Feb 21, 2012

I know there was a lot of talk about clean coal in the past couple years, but if you take a glance at the numbers it doesn’t really seem like the public is too enamored of the old standby anymore.  There’s the environmental coalition that’s in favor of Governor O’Malley’s idea to build a bunch of off-shore wind turbines and start making the shift towards “green” energy. And then there’s those who want to push ahead with drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland.

If you look at the most recent polls, a majority of Marylanders seem to support both plans. There’s a 70% majority that want to start drilling for natural gas now (even though O’Malley wants us to wait three more years, at least!) and there’s somewhere between a 55 and 60% majority that want us to start work on the off-shore wind turbines (even if it ends up costing us a few dollars more every month).

The O’Malley administration only wants to move forward with one of the two plans, despite the fact that it has fewer supporters and would end up raising utility bills instead of lowering them. He’s already pushed for it last year and failed to get it through the legislature. Perhaps, if he wants to actually succeed this year, he should consider giving the people what they want in exchange for getting what he wants.

Personally, I can’t say that off-shore wind has my support. It’s expensive, inefficient, and requires certain weather conditions to function properly. But the best I can do is try to convince its supporters that there are other alternatives -- and cast my vote for representatives that I feel will support those options.

We have instituted a system of checks and balances to ensure that no group (majority or minority) oppresses another. But our founding fathers were very careful to set things up so that the folks in charge would be obligated to make choices that accurately represent the views of the people. They’re supposed to work for us, not remake the state (or the country) however they see fit.

O’Malley wants to go green. Not everyone agrees with him, but it seems like enough people do that it wouldn’t be a crime for it pass this year. But even more people want us to stop dilly-dallying and start drilling for natural gas in Western Maryland. Shouldn’t that option be on the table at the same time as off-shore wind?