Now that Maine has submitted the first permit request for a Research Array encompassing 15.2 square miles in the Gulf of Maine to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; it is more important than ever that our voice is heard.
The Offshore Wind Advisory Committee met 10/6/2021, as I listened to the different Advisors of the working groups give recommendations it was kind of refreshing to hear that they too are struggling with the order in which the process has been rolled out. Everyone needing information they don't yet have to make vital educated decisions which will impact so many. Wanting to know what we as fishermen can live with before we know the impacts to our industry isn't fair. Kudos to Deputy Commissioner Meredith Mendelson- she stood up for the fishing industry to say folks need to be patient with the working groups answers because we don't know yet. It really is not a case of NIMBY when you don't have the facts or know the outcome. I still question if we can impact this process with the vital monitoring we need BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER. How will we know if migratory patterns change? How will we know if EMF impacts different species and how? How will these turbines impact search and rescue? How much area will one turbine take up, as in how close can we actually fish to it and around the array? Who is responsible if you get entangled with a turbine? How do we calculate impact geographically? People in different geographical areas have different opportunities for employment. How can we be involved with BOEM's process by making changes federally?
One thing was clear, the GEO and the roadmap want targeted outreach and public engagement. This is where YOU come in. Reach out to folks in your community, get some questions, concerns, and statements on paper. Write from your buying station, your harbor committee, the coffee shop club, historical societies, economic development committees, we need to have as many groups, and organizations to get "on the record" with concerns pertaining to OSW. It is vital we have Maine and our federal delegation push for changes that give fishermen a seat and voice in the BOEM process or no one is going to hear us.
Equally important is knowing the State of Maine will support the findings of the Research Array.
If these turbines are harmful to our very productive fisheries, we need DMR on board to support our efforts in not moving this project forward and seeking alternative energy sources. All I heard was mitigation of the effects from the OSW Advisory Committee, when DMR has repeatedly said in previous meetings they would support the science and protect the resources.
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If you need help reach out to me, I will help organize a meeting in your town and we will collect some information!
Maine Lobstering Union-Local 207