OCEAN CITY — Less than 24 hours after Ocean City officials voted to send another letter to potential offshore wind farm developers over the distance from shore issue, Congressman Andy Harris was successful in getting an amendment passed that could derail the project altogether.
Harris, who represents Maryland’s first congressional district, on Tuesday was able to attach an amendment on a Department of the Interior appropriations bill that will prohibit the use of federal funds to conduct reviews of site assessments or construction and operation plans for wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from the state’s shoreline. The amendment adopted could effectively put an end to the state’s two offshore wind farm projects approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC).
The US Wind project calls for 62 turbines as close as 12-17 miles off the coast of Ocean City in its first phase. During a presentation of the proposed project this spring, Ocean City officials pressed US Wind to push the front line of turbines further back in the designated Wind Energy Area (WEA) and the company agreed to move the turbines to 17 miles offshore. The second approved project, Deepwater Wind’s Skipjack project, calls for 15 turbines as close as 19 miles off the coast of the resort.