Congressman To Host Offshore Wind Hearing

OCEAN CITY – A public hearing is expected to give expert witnesses an opportunity to testify on the local impacts of offshore wind.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Congressman Andy Harris will hold a public hearing on the effects of offshore wind. Harris said he, along with New Jersey Congressmen Jeff Van Drew and Chris Smith, will host experts in industries directly impacted from proposed offshore wind projects off Maryland’s coast.

“I think the more people understand the difficulties and problems associated with offshore wind, the less likely it will be that they want to proceed with it,” he said.

Harris said the meeting will give witnesses a chance to talk about the effects offshore wind have on the fishing industry, the environment, the energy sector and the economy. Their presentations, he said, will be followed by questions from the three congressmen whose districts are directly impacted.

Harris said representatives from US Wind, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have also been invited to participate.

“It’s up to them whether they want to attend …,” he said. “But they are invited to make their case.”

The hearing on offshore wind will be held Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City. The hearing will be conducted as a normal congressional hearing, including expert testimony and questioning, according to a news release.

Officials add that the event is open to the public, and that those interested in attending can RSVP at Seating will be available, and doors open at 1:30 p.m.

“I hope attendees understand there are serious problems with offshore wind and it’s a very expensive solution to a problem. I believe it also hurts our defense posture as well …,” Harris said. “It’s not ready for primetime, and it’s certainly not ready off Maryland’s coast.”

As proposed, US Wind plans to construct up to 121 wind turbines, up to four offshore substation platforms and one meteorological tower within an offshore lease area located approximately 8.7 nautical miles from Ocean City’s shoreline and nine nautical miles from Sussex County, Del.

If approved, BOEM reports the project could generate between 1,100 and 2,200 megawatts of renewable energy for the Delmarva Peninsula and support up to 2,600 jobs annually throughout the development and construction phases.

BOEM is expected to issue a final environmental impact statement and record of decision on the US Wind project in late 2024.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.