Atlantic Coast wind farm projects hit fishermen hard, threaten U.S. food supply | Local News

Atlantic Coast wind farm projects hit fishermen hard, threaten U.S. food supply

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GE’s new Haliade-X offshore wind turbine is huge: each blade is longer than a football field. It’s almost three high football fields. Its footprint on the seabed is also gigantic, and not only because of the concrete base that anchors it. Miles and miles of transmission lines must be buried and then covered with debris.

So when the ground was dug last month on Vineyard Wind 1 in waters off Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island, local families who have been involved in the fishing industry for generations have wondered how 62 wind turbines planned (for now) would affect fishing grounds, their ability to navigate these waters and the country’s food supply.

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Tom Williams, a longtime fisherman whose sons are now captains of the family’s two boats, doesn’t get scared easily, not after the storms, regulations and economic ups and downs he has suffered. But the wind farms planned for much of the Atlantic coast of the country scare him. His own extended family began fishing in Rhode Island in 1922.

“What will be left for my grandchildren? he asks. “It’s a way of life, and it’s the biggest threat we’ve ever faced.”

Tom Williams, long-time fisherman

That’s why the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a lawsuit this week to block the Vineyard Wind project. We represent Tom’s family as well as other commercial fishing families.

The basis of the lawsuit is the fact that in its urgency to have offshore wind projects approved, the Federal Office of Ocean Energy Management failed to conduct the appropriate environmental impact studies; States that embarked on this project have failed to seek advice from the fishing industry regarding environmental and economic impacts; and reasonable alternatives to the sites chosen for the turbines were not considered.

One of Tom Williams' sons fishing in the waters off Massachusetts

One of Tom Williams’ sons fishing in the waters off Massachusetts

Specifically, a Home Office program called ‘Smart from the Start’ to speed up projects has been used to improperly grant clearances allowing foreign energy companies to move forward despite the damage done to them. our national industries and our environment. Vineyard Wind will also directly threaten endangered species, including the North Atlantic right whale, which migrate to this region every year.

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The project’s final environmental impact statement recognizes that the turbines will increase the danger to humans through collisions, but failed to address other hazards, such as interference with instruments used in research missions. and rescue. He also did not address the vulnerability of the larger-than-expected Haliade-X turbines to hurricane-force winds, which occur regularly along the Atlantic coast.

One of the Williams family fishing boats

One of the Williams family fishing boats

The Vineyard Wind project must be halted and restarted from the beginning. No approval granted within the framework of the “Smart from the Start” project should be considered legitimate.

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Meghan Lapp is Managing Director of Seafreeze Shoreside Ltd., a Rhode Island squid processor. They have a boat themselves and their dockside facility serves around 30 others. It goes beyond simple squid (although New York City has a voracious appetite for it); squid is also an important baitfish, which means other fisheries depend on the efforts of Seafreeze.

She mentions the only offshore wind project on the Atlantic coast, the nearby Block Island wind farm. At the moment, only one of its five turbines is running (the developer said in August that this was due to “routine summer maintenance,” but as of November, they were still standing still).

“What do you think happens to these when they are at the end of their useful life? ” she asks. “They’re cut. But not the concrete base. Not the transmission lines. They stay and they’re here for good.”

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In other words, wind farms don’t last forever. But the damage they cause to the environment, endangered species, human lives and livelihoods is.

The lawsuit, titled Seafreeze Shoreside Ltd. v. US Department of the Interior, is filed in US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Breaking News Updates Usa News Atlantic Coast wind farm projects hit fishermen hard, threaten U.S. food supply

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