Congressman Harris, State and Local Lawmakers, Urge the MDE to Hold a Public Hearing in Ocean City to Address Concerns with the West Ocean City Pier Development

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Congressman Andy Harris along with state and local lawmakers want the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) to hold a public hearing in Ocean City, Maryland to review its process for developing U.S. Wind’s West Ocean City Pier. The MDE already held a public comment hearing at the Wor-Wic Community College on March 25, 2024; however, Congressman Harris’ office received numerous complaints that the hearing was held in neighboring Wicomico County as opposed to Ocean City where residents will be most affected by the pier development. In their response to a letter by Harris and lawmakers, MDE offered to extend the online public comment period for 30 days but did not agree to hold a public hearing in Ocean City, as was requested.

Additional Information:

The location of the proposed pier in the Ocean City Inlet is in an area that is already crowded with commercial fisherman and tourists alike and many Ocean City residents have expressed concerns that further development of the pier will create unnecessary disruption of the important fishing industry.

Statements From Lawmakers:

“The West Ocean City Pier is being developed with the purpose of expanding offshore wind at a time when the true impacts of offshore wind have never been properly studied. I urge the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) to hold a public forum in Ocean City so that my constituents and those residents most affected by the West Ocean City pier development can voice their concerns,” said Congressman Harris.

“The residents and property owners of Ocean City and across the Shore have the right to know the detailed plans of the offshore wind industrialization project, including the developer’s plans for major construction at the West Ocean City Harbor,” said Maryland State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, who represents Maryland’s Coast. “US Wind, an Italian-based developer, continues to change the plans by dramatically increasing the size of the turbines growing nearly four times the height of the tallest building in Ocean City and placing the gigantic turbines as close to 11 miles from the Shore, not 17 miles as first proposed. We need a public hearing to be held in Ocean City, the place where the industrialization of offshore wind energy will have the biggest impact.”

“Since the conversation regarding offshore wind has started, the local elected officials and the majority of Ocean City property owners’ concerns have been ignored,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman. “The fact that this meeting was not made to be convenient for those impacted most, including our commercial waterman and neighboring property owners, tells me that there is no desire to hear the real concerns and negative impact that this project will bring.”

“Introducing the competing uses proposed by US Wind would impede the primary function of the WOC harbor, a protected Commercial Marine Zoning District and the hub of commercial and recreational fishing activities in Worcester County,” Commissioner President Chip Bertino said. “Because US Wind activities threaten our commercial fishing industry, future maintenance dredging to address historic shoaling in the Ocean City Inlet, and the continued economic viability of the greater Ocean City area, any public hearing on this application should be staged in Worcester County where those who will actually be impacted by the project reside.”

“The proposed US Wind project, which will destroy the view shed off the coast of Ocean City, is now leading to the industrialization of the West Ocean City Commercial Fishing Harbor. The proposed development in the harbor will reduce the commercial fishing and recreational opportunities in the only commercial harbor that has direct access to the Atlantic Ocean in the entire State of Maryland. Any hearing on this proposal should take place in the Ocean City area where those that are most affected and have the most standing, have the opportunity to attend.  We have the most to lose and our voice has continued to be ignored. We must have the opportunity, as a community, to stand up for ourselves,” said Ocean City mayor, Richard Meehan.


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