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Worcester County commissioners send another letter against wind farm

Ocean City Today |Hunter Hine|November 16, 2023
New JerseyGeneralOffshore Wind

[Commissioner Joe] Mitrecic said that now increased government spending is a concern on top of concerns for Ocean City’s fishing industry and other ocean-related activities. Commissioner Ted Elder said the wind farms would be a detriment to the state environmentally, financially and aesthetically, as the wind turbines will be visible from the shore of Ocean City and Assateague Island. “In the long run I think this is going to end up costing the people in the county and the state of Maryland a tremendous amount of money,” Mitrecic said. 


Army Corps accepting public comments on US Wind project until Nov. 20

The Worcester County Commissioners are sending another letter in protest of offshore wind turbines to the Army Corps of Engineers since the Corps opened its own public comment period ahead of making a decision to permit the project. 

At the commissioners meeting on Nov. 7, Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said that the Corps is soliciting comments on US Wind’s proposed three-phase offshore wind turbine project, which the company plans to construct off the Maryland and Delaware coast. 

The corps will use public comments to determine whether to permit for the project, and the deadline for the comment period is Dec. 5. 

“The decision whether to issue a permit will …

... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

Army Corps accepting public comments on US Wind project until Nov. 20

The Worcester County Commissioners are sending another letter in protest of offshore wind turbines to the Army Corps of Engineers since the Corps opened its own public comment period ahead of making a decision to permit the project. 

At the commissioners meeting on Nov. 7, Chief Administrative Officer Weston Young said that the Corps is soliciting comments on US Wind’s proposed three-phase offshore wind turbine project, which the company plans to construct off the Maryland and Delaware coast. 

The corps will use public comments to determine whether to permit for the project, and the deadline for the comment period is Dec. 5. 

“The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impacts, including cumulative impacts of the proposed activity on the public interest,” according to a joint notice about the comment period from the Baltimore and Philadelphia Districts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition, or deny a permit for this proposal,” according to the notice.

Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said that a wind energy company that has proposed several wind farm projects off the mid-Atlantic coast, has canceled one of its wind farm projects.

Ørsted will cancel its Wind I and Ocean Wind II projects, which were proposed for construction off the southern coast of New Jersey. 

According to Ørsted’s press release and an article from the Coastal Point, a Delaware Newspaper, the wind energy company is still developing its Skipjack I and Skipjack II projects off the coast of Maryland and Delaware, but did say the Skipjack project is being reconfigured.

The company said it canceled its New Jersey projects because of rapidly rising costs resulting from inflation and high interest rates and the difficulty in obtaining materials.

“The cost of these projects has increased so dramatically that, in order [build them], these companies are going back to get more money from the government, which means the taxpayers are going to put the bill up for them,” Mitrecic said at the commission meeting.

Mitrecic said that now increased government spending is a concern on top of concerns for Ocean City’s fishing industry and other ocean-related activities. Commissioner Ted Elder said the wind farms would be a detriment to the state environmentally, financially and aesthetically, as the wind turbines will be visible from the shore of Ocean City and Assateague Island. 

“In the long run I think this is going to end up costing the people in the county and the state of Maryland a tremendous amount of money,” Mitrecic said. 

Commissioner Caryn Abbott said many people have contacted her under the assumption that county commissioners are in support of the offshore wind project, which is incorrect.

“I think I can speak for all of us. We are not in support of these wind farms,” Abbott said. 

“We’ve made it very clear for a very long time that we’re opposed to them,” commissioner President Chip Bertino said. 

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM, and US Wind representatives claim the construction of the up to 121 turbines, off the coast of Ocean City, will create thousands of jobs and power up to 770,000 homes across the region.

According to the notice from the Corps, the Baltimore District is helping prepare BOEM’s environmental impact statement, though BOEM is the lead federal agency for the proposed US Wind project. 

US Wind requires approvals from multiple federal and state agencies because the project falls in overlapping jurisdictions, said Cynthia Mitchell, a public affairs specialist with the Corps.

“Each agency will review impacts related specifically to their regulations,” Mitchell said in an email.

The Corps is reviewing potential impacts associated specifically with Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act, which is within the Clean Water Act.

“The individual permit (from the Corps) would govern activities in navigable waters of the U.S. for both structures and wetlands, as well as water quality considerations,” said Laurie Jodziewicz, senior director of Environmental Affairs for US Wind, in an email.

BOEM’s public comment period for the draft environmental impact statement on the Maryland Offshore Wind Project is open until Nov. 20.

This story appears in the Nov. 17, 2023, print edition of the OC Today.
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MORE INFORMATION
Second BOEM in-person hearing on offshore wind generates emotions in Delaware
Second BOEM in-person hearing on offshore wind generates emotions in Delaware
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management recently held a community open house on a proposed offshore wind project at Indian River High School in Dagsboro.

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Worcester Corps Of Engineers Joe Mitrecic Ted Elder Cynthia Mitchell New Jersey Director Of Environmental Affairs For Us Wind Wind Energy Mid-atlantic ørsted President Maryland Worcester County Commissioner Public Affairs Specialist Skipjack I Chip Bertino Delaware Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management Chief Administrative Officer Caryn Abbott Army Corps Of Engineers Baltimore Laurie Jodziewicz Baltimore District Weston Young Delaware Coast The U.s. Army Corps Of Engineers Coastal Point Ocean City Maryland Ocean City Today Oc Today
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