Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fishermen sue to block U.S. offshore wind farm auction

The Associated Press reports:

Commercial fishing companies, trade groups and seaport communities in four states have asked a court to stop the federal government from auctioning off the rights to develop a huge offshore windfarm in the Atlantic Ocean between New York and New Jersey.

The petition, filed Thursday in federal court in Washington, D.C., said the plan to build as many as 194 turbines in a 127-square-mile section would hurt fishermen who now cruise the area looking for scallops and squid and others who harvest fish species including summer flounder, mackerel, black sea bass and monkfish.

The groups want to delay the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's plans to conduct a Dec. 15 lease sale. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the motion ahead of its filing.

"BOEM must carry out the proper analysis prior to officially leasing out areas to companies for construction, due to the importance of this fishery area," said James Gutowski, president of the Fisheries Survival Fund, which is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.

A BOEM spokeswoman declined to comment.

Others seeking a delay include groups representing scallop and squid fishermen, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts. The U.S. still has no offshore wind projects online, though BOEM has awarded 11 commercial offshore wind leases for sites in the Atlantic. Political opposition has delayed some major projects.

The country's first offshore wind farm, a project off Rhode Island with just a few turbines, is expected to debut this month.

Read the full story here

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