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    Federal agency to hold public meetings on US Wind project off Ocean City coast as it begins to examine impacts


    June 6, 2022 - Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun

     

      The federal agency responsible for reviewing offshore wind projects will hold a series of virtual public meetings in June as it begins the process of evaluating a planned wind farm off the coast of Ocean City and southern Delaware.

      The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said Tuesday it will formally launch its review of the environmental impacts associated with a wind farm of up to 121 turbines that US Wind LLC plans to build by 2026.

      The agency will describe its review process to the public at online meetings at 5 p.m. June 21 and June 23 and at 1 p.m. June 27. The process involves collecting input from the public to determine what environmental impacts the project could have, what alternatives to US Wind’s plans might exist, and what measures could be taken to reduce any impacts.

      Bureau Director Amanda Lefton said in a statement the agency would use “the best available science and traditional knowledge to inform our decisions and protect the ocean environment and marine life.”

      The US Wind project, which would come as close as 15 miles away from Ocean City beaches, has been the target of significant opposition in the resort town, where residents including Mayor Rick Meehan and other elected officials have raised concern about the visual impact of the wind turbines on tourism.

      The project already has received approvals from Maryland regulators, who last year approved subsidies that were key in the financing of the project. Another project, proposed by Skipjack Offshore Energy, a subsidiary of the Danish developer Ørsted, also was approved for the state subsidies.

      Anyone with concerns about the US Wind project will have 30 days to submit comments to the federal bureau before it moves forward with its process, with the next step being development of what is known as an environmental impact statement. Information about the project, the meetings and how to submit comments can be found online at www.boem.gov/renewable-energy/state-activities/maryland-activities.

      The Biden administration said its review of the US Wind project is part of an effort to accelerate offshore wind development in federal waters. It is the 10th such review initiated since Biden took office, according to the Interior Department. There are currently two offshore wind farms operating in the U.S., in Rhode Island and Virginia.

      “If approved, this project will represent another step forward to creating a robust offshore wind industry here in the United States, all while creating good-paying, family supporting jobs,” Lefton said.

      ©2022 Baltimore Sun. Visit baltimoresun.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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