Offshore Wind Hearing: What Some Speakers Said

Upwards of 1,000 people attended the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) hearing on the proposed height increase in the turbines for two approved offshore wind projects off Ocean City’s coast and at least 100 utilized their allotted time to comment. All of the comments if printed in their entirety would likely fill the pages of The Dispatch.

The following is a sampling of some of the comments both for and against the proposed projects not included in the article:

“No one is disputing these turbines would be visible and now they’re growing. They changed the deal. We don’t oppose offshore wind and we have taken bold action on our own renewable energy with 51% percent of the town’s energy now coming from renewable sources, or far greater than the state mandate. The polls have said two-thirds of Marylanders support offshore wind energy, but what business would support something that alienates one third of its customers.”

Ocean City Councilman John Gehrig

“This analogy has been used already, but it’s like going from a single-family, one-story rancher to a 10-story condo. If they showed up and City Hall with those changes, they would be told to go back to the beginning of the planning process. These two projects have tripled in size.”

Ocean City Councilman Dennis Dare

“These supersized structures will be extremely visible and spoil our ocean horizon forever. There is an area available for lease 33 miles offshore on the other side of the shipping channel. That lease area could be a win-win for everybody. We beg you to please do this right.”

Ocean City Councilman Tony DeLuca

“It seems obvious to me the increasing size of the turbines will greatly impact our views. An unobstructed view is what people pay for when they buy a condo or rent a hotel room. It will make visiting Ocean City less desirable. This is a big deal.”

Ocean City Councilman Matt James

“The county not only relies on Ocean City for 60% of it entire budget, but many if not most of our county residents are directly or indirectly employed in Ocean City and any disruption of this revenue source, not only for us, but for our residents, will be crippling.”

Worcester County Commissioner Joe Mitrecic

“Is further action necessary? This has to be the largest public hearing I’ve ever seen and on a Saturday morning in January in Ocean City. This has been a bait-and-switch and there has to be an evidentiary hearing.”

Delegate Steve Hershey (R-36)

“Ocean City is finally engaged. These projects will desecrate the viewshed. I was very concerned Ocean City has not been engaged and now that it is, I’m not surprised by the size of this crowd. They put the WEA right in the middle of the shipping channel. Do you really think they care about the viewshed impact in Ocean City?”

Delegate Chris Adams (R-37B)

“We are facing a climate crisis. It’s clear in Maryland offshore wind has to be a crucial piece of our portfolio. It’s an incredible opportunity for economic development in Maryland. We’ll lose that opportunity if we don’t move forward with this now. I urge the commission to move forward as quickly as possible and not delay the development of offshore wind off Maryland’s coast.”

Delegate Lorig Charkoudian (D-20)

“We’ve had briefings on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions and we all agree we’re in a climate crisis. We need to have a response to that. We are dedicated to making sure we respond in a timely manner.”

Delegate Carol Krimm (D-3A)

“People don’t like change. When smoking was banned in restaurants, people thought it would hurt tourism, but it did not. The planet is warming at an alarming rate. The presence of offshore wind in Maryland will send a clear message we’re committed to doing our part.”

Offshore wind proponent Maggie Porter

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.