The Ocean City Council has hired prominent Maryland lobbyist Bruce Bereano to help push the wind farms to the desired distance of 23 miles offshore.
“There is one chance to do this right, and there’s no one better at a state and federal level,” Councilman Tony DeLuca said. “He knows everyone in Annapolis, he has the reputation, and he’s the right man for the job.”
Bereano, who has lobbied state lawmakers for special-interest groups over the past three decades, is the second-highest paid lobbyist in Annapolis. He was interviewed and hired by the mayor and council during a lengthy closed session on Sept. 12. The vote to bring on Bereano was apparently unanimous.
It is unknown at this time how much Bereano will be paid for his work.
“You can look at it like he’s the second-highest paid lobbyist, or that he’s one of the most lobbyist successful in Maryland,” Councilman Matt James said. “A lot of people ask us [the council] why we’re against green energy, and we’re not. We just don’t want to see the turbines, and this will get our message across.”
In May, the Public Service Commission approved proposed wind farm projects in the two 80,000-acre wind energy fields created by the state years ago. One lease area is in the waters closer to downtown, while the other is straddling the the Maryland-Delaware border.
The PSC’s conditional approval ignores Ocean City Council’s repeated petitions to put the projects roughly 23 miles away. U.S. Wind would use the southern site and install 62 turbines 12-15 miles off the coast, while Skipjack would build 15 turbines 17-21 miles out north.
U.S. Wind’s project, which greatly alarmed officials because of its proximity, will need to be “as far east in the lease area as reasonable,” according to the PSC approval.
Wind energy representatives estimate that it would cost $1 million per mile to extend the transmission line and move the turbines back.
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