This article was produced for ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in partnership with The New Bedford Light.
Last May, Tommy Beaudreau touted the potential of renewable energy sources like offshore wind to an audience that included some of his government colleagues and former industry clients.
“This industry, this group of people in the room today, really are the key to unlocking that clean energy future,” Beaudreau, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, proclaimed at a conference hosted by the American Clean Power Association, a lobbying group largely funded by offshore wind developers.
Just one year earlier, Beaudreau had been a corporate lawyer, earning part of his $2.4 million income from offshore wind developers. Then he was appointed to regulate the industry he was previously paid to represent. During Beaudreau’s tenure, developers including several of his former clients have gained preliminary or final approvals for an unprecedented expansion of offshore wind, despite repeated warnings from federal scientists about potential harms to marine life and the fishing industry.
While the Trump administration put roadblocks in the path of offshore wind development, the Biden administration is fast-tracking clean alternatives like wind and solar to expand domestic energy production and slow the pace of climate change. In the next decade, 3,411 turbines and 9,874 miles of cable are slated to be built across 2.4 million acres of federally managed ocean.
Beaudreau is part of a revolving door between the government and offshore wind. Much as the Trump administration had a pipeline to and from oil and natural gas companies, in recent years at least 90 people have shuttled between federal, state or local government and the offshore wind industry, a ProPublica/New Bedford Light investigation has found. They range from rank-and-file bureaucrats to top policymakers like Beaudreau.
“It’s not uncommon, but it’s not good government,” said Brett Hartl, director of government affairs for the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation group. “Wind is better than oil and gas, but that doesn’t mean we should cut corners. Giving them an easier path than they deserve means that someone else is going to pay the price.”
Apparently left out of this cozy relationship is one keenly affected group: more than 1 million people in the U.S. who work in the seafood industry, including 158,811 commercial fishermen. Fishermen have been shouldering longer hours and more expenses as private equity takes over their industry. Now, they are grappling with the prospect that offshore wind farms will box them out of fishing areas and further imperil their livelihoods.
For generations, East Coast fishermen have plied the same waters where turbines the height of 70-story skyscrapers will soon be spinning. The Atlantic’s Outer Continental Shelf is comparatively shallow, making it easier to anchor turbines deep in the ocean floor. Steady winds blow through the entire year. But it’s also along the shelf’s ridges that currents mix and sunlight penetrates, allowing microorganisms and fish to flourish in a complex ocean ecosystem.
Federal scientists, the commercial fishing industry and industry regulators each have sounded the alarm about potential harm to fish spawning habits and about the lack of compensation for losses suffered by fishermen who will be displaced by the offshore wind industry. The Interior Department has ignored or downplayed those warnings.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is part of the Interior Department, and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, which is part of the Commerce Department, have conflicting authority over the same stretches of federal waters. BOEM oversees permitting and leasing for offshore wind development, from which the federal government reaped more than $5 billion last year. NMFS is supposed to protect marine habitat and ensure that the fishing industry is both sustainable and economically viable.
“We are very concerned about the cumulative impacts of multiple wind energy projects on the fisheries we manage,” directors of three federally established regional councils that advise NMFS wrote last fall to Amanda Lefton, then the head of BOEM.
Lefton said last October that she wants to ensure that “not only can the commercial fishing industry and offshore wind coexist but that both industries can thrive.” The American Clean Power Association has run advertisements with a similar message.
Yet on paper, BOEM has been less sanguine. A May 2021 decision published by BOEM greenlighting the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind project south of Martha’s Vineyard, which will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm approved for construction, BOEM conceded that there will be “negative economic impacts to commercial fisheries” and that, while fishermen will be allowed to fish within the boundaries of the wind farm, “it is likely that the entire 75,614 acre area will be abandoned by commercial fisheries.” The document was signed jointly by BOEM, NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Eight months later, in response to federal lawsuits accusing it of circumventing environmental protection, the agencies walked back their prediction that fishermen would abandon the area.
In January, Lefton left BOEM to join Foley Hoag, a law firm that has represented Vineyard Wind. There, she said in a press release, she will “leverage” her “experience in policy and regulation at the state and federal levels with the private sector to help businesses get projects built.”
Beaudreau and an Interior Department spokesperson, Tyler Cherry, declined to comment. Mike Moses, a spokesperson for Foley Hoag, said that Lefton complied with all ethics rules as a government official and that she has “an unwavering commitment to continue to do so moving forward.”
The future of wind power and the plight of fishermen are colliding in New Bedford. The components to build turbines for Vineyard Wind, which started offshore construction last November, will be shipped from the Port of New Bedford, which is also the top-earning commercial fishing port in the nation. It supports almost 15,000 jobs and moves between 390 and 544 million pounds of seafood a year from its waterfront to consumers around the world.
“The great majority of the people who rely on going out to fish will be squeezed out of the industry,” said Scott Lang, a former mayor of New Bedford and an attorney who for four decades has represented many of the city’s commercial fishermen. “This is going to be the final nail.”
The year was 2008, and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy was sharing a drink with Alan Solomont, then a health care executive and former national finance chair for the Democratic National Committee, at the senator’s vacation retreat on Cape Cod. It was a calm night, barely a breeze, Solomont recalled. As they looked out at the inky blackness of the Nantucket Sound, where developers were seeking permission to build the first wind farm off the East Coast, Kennedy told Solomont disdainfully, “And they want to build a factory out there.”
Though Cape Wind was a relatively small project by today’s standards, the Kennedys and other prominent families who didn’t want their scenic vista disturbed succeeded in quashing it. At the time, “the climate was not seen as the crisis we understand it to be today,” Solomont recalled.
Since then, the political winds, so to speak, have shifted. Offshore wind has evolved from a novelty opposed by powerful insiders to a political juggernaut that enjoys widespread support. Solomont himself is betting on its future. After serving as U.S. ambassador to Spain, he now sits on the board of Avangrid — a subsidiary of a Spanish renewable energy company that owns half of the Vineyard Wind development. He owns about $380,000 worth of Avangrid shares.
Sign up for our free newsletter
The U.S. has a “willing public sector that understands the importance” of offshore wind, “both to the environment and also to the economy,” Solomont said. “There is very little downside to this, and huge upside. Massachusetts is positioned to be a hub for the offshore wind industry. That means jobs. It is, in many respects, reminiscent of the early stages of biotech.”
BOEM has fostered this transformation. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the Obama administration established BOEM to handle energy leasing and development across federally managed oceans. Its first director was Tommy Beaudreau, who oversaw the early framework for offshore wind regulation and leasing. BOEM also redrew development zones to move them farther offshore, which prevented residents from seeing the turbines, but also drove development into a different backyard — that of the commercial fishing industry.
In contrast to Kennedy, another Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Ed Markey, emerged as a key proponent of offshore wind as a way to boost the state’s economy and reduce U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. He supported what he regarded as the Biden administration’s efforts to make up for time lost when the Trump administration stalled permits for offshore wind. He crafted tax incentives for offshore wind manufacturers, which were a priority for the industry’s lobbying group, and which were ultimately adopted in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Markey was a featured speaker at an American Clean Power conference on offshore wind in 2021.
Offshore wind was becoming more popular not just in Washington but also at the state level. Developers in Massachusetts began securing electricity contracts with state utilities in 2018 — locking project commitments into the Massachusetts power grid long before the developments had cleared environmental reviews or permitting.
Wind’s supporters in government flocked to join the burgeoning industry. Matt Beaton headed the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs when it approved a power purchase agreement with Vineyard Wind to distribute 800 megawatts of offshore wind energy. Beaton then joined consulting firm TRC Companies in 2019. According to its website, TRC provided “environmental siting and permitting support” for Vineyard Wind.
In a 2021 interview, Beaton said there’s an inevitable trade-off between energy production and environmental impact. “At the end of the day, I’m a natural resource guy. I’m a conservationist,” he said. “We don’t want to harm our environment.” At the same time, he added, “there is going to be some need for development.”
Beaton’s successor at the state energy office, Katie Theoharides, oversaw agreements with Vineyard Wind and SouthCoast Wind. Last year, she left government to head East Coast offshore development for international energy company RWE.
Beaton and Theoharides did not respond to requests for comment.
In late February, a 393-foot barge chugged around the eastern tip of Martha’s Vineyard. It was laying heavy cables into two 50-mile-long trenches, which will plug Vineyard Wind’s turbines into the state’s power grid.
Dug up to 8 feet into the ocean floor, the trenches mark the first ocean ground broken on a large-scale offshore wind farm. Starting this year, 62 turbines will be raised, slightly more than a mile apart, each as high as 837 feet, taller than the John Hancock Tower, the tallest building in Boston. Below the surface, each turbine will be supported by 197- to 312-foot-tall steel piles, each up to 34 feet wide, according to Vineyard Wind’s approved construction plans.
Vineyard Wind was the first of two wind farms on the East Coast to gain final approval from BOEM for construction. The second is South Fork Wind, located about 35 miles east of Montauk, New York.
BOEM approved the projects despite repeated warnings from the National Marine Fisheries Service about damage to the environment and the fishing industry.
Environmental laws require BOEM to consult with the fisheries service on projects taking place in “essential fish habitat,” which encompasses all offshore wind projects within 200 miles of the coast.
Fisheries regulators have been warning BOEM since 2018 about the impact of offshore wind projects. “The multiple wind energy projects planned along the east coast will have cumulative and compounding effects on our fisheries,” the three regional fishery councils on the East Coast wrote in last summer’s letter to the head of BOEM. They added that the “effects will increase in magnitude as more projects are built.”
For Vineyard Wind, fisheries scientists outlined how repeated blasts from pile driving into the ocean floor can cause “fish kills.” The sound wave impact, which can be felt underwater from as far as 50 miles away, can cause a “cumulative stress response” that disrupts the ability of fish to feed or spawn. Suspended sediment on the ocean floor kicked up by construction could also harm fish, and digging long and deep trenches to connect turbines to shore by cable would result in “permanent loss of juvenile cod” habitat.
But BOEM has the final say. It doesn’t have to heed the service’s recommendations, and it has largely ignored them.
Tensions over Vineyard Wind culminated in 2019, when NMFS disagreed with a key step in BOEM’s permitting. NMFS said BOEM’s environmental review “does not analyze the stated concerns raised by NMFS and the fishing industry.”
Join us at the Black Whale Kitchen + Bar on June 22. Learn more.
In response, BOEM’s chief environmental officer, William Yancey Brown, wrote that the concerns “do not rise to the level that would justify the likely extensive project delays and potential failure of the project.” Those delays, he added, “might prevent Vineyard Wind from qualifying for a federal investment tax credit.” He threatened to issue the environmental permit without NMFS support.
By the time BOEM approved Vineyard Wind for construction in July 2021, BOEM had downplayed the urgent concerns raised by the fisheries service. Its final environmental impact statement said that pile driving would cause “short-term, minor impacts,” effects of laying cables would “likely be negligible,” and the harm to marine life would be “minor.”
Twenty miles west of Vineyard Wind, South Fork Wind wants to undertake a smaller project, with 12 turbines generating about one-sixth the overall power. But the impact on fisheries habitats there is expected to be far worse, according to NMFS scientists.
South Fork Wind spans Cox Ledge, a spawning ground for Atlantic cod and 25 other species vital to the marine ecosystem and commercial fishing. Turbine locations for the project “may result in cascading long term to permanent effects to species that rely on this area for spawning,” a fisheries administrator cautioned BOEM. He added that the habitats “may take years to decades to recover.”
South Fork developers were more explicit than BOEM about the risks of turbine construction. “Intense sound pressure waves” may result in “injury or mortality caused by rupturing swim bladders or by internal hemorrhaging,” the developers wrote in their approved construction plans. Pile driving has the “potential to interrupt migration patterns” for fish.
Nevertheless, BOEM concluded that “considerable uncertainty remains” about the project’s impact. The “available evidence to date suggests that the effects of long-term habit alteration from wind development on finfish are generally beneficial,” BOEM stated in August 2021, writing that the construction on Cox Ledge “could result in beneficial, neutral, or potentially negative effects.” In January 2022, BOEM approved South Fork Wind to begin construction.
“It’s frustrating that there aren’t clear requirements to avoid an impact to these habitats,” said Michelle Bachman, a fishery analyst studying habitat and offshore wind, who led the research on South Fork Wind for the NMFS regional office. “There isn’t much we have the ability to do.”
Both Vineyard Wind and South Fork Wind have enjoyed a key advocate: Beaudreau.
After leaving government during the Trump administration, Beaudreau became a partner at the law firm Latham & Watkins. He represented major offshore wind firms, including Vineyard Wind and Ørsted, the developer behind South Fork Wind. Beaudreau also worked with Avangrid Renewables — one of two partners behind Vineyard Wind — on “environmental and permitting matters” for another offshore wind project, The Washington Post reported.
Beaudreau’s potential conflicts of interest dwarf those of David Bernhardt, a former fossil fuels lobbyist who served as deputy secretary and secretary of the Interior Department in the Trump administration. Bernhardt has said he carried a list of 22 former clients with him so he could avoid conflicts. In Beaudreau’s financial disclosures, he reported working for 35 clients during the Trump administration, including 10 companies with offshore wind developments.
Beaudreau “has very deep conflicts,” said Hartl, of the Center for Biological Diversity. The Interior Department, he said, “is under enormous political pressure to accelerate this industry. He is driving that.”
Nevertheless, Beaudreau sailed through. The U.S. Senate confirmed him in June 2021 by an 88-9 vote. In a letter read aloud by Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, former Obama administration interior secretary Sally Jewell lauded Beaudreau’s “pragmatic knowledge of how to get things done.”
Beaudreau promised to recuse himself from decisions directly affecting former clients for two years. Still, emails show he and Lefton, who as head of BOEM reported to him, scheduled joint meetings with executives of offshore wind companies — including one with the then-head of the American Clean Power Association and another with a past chief executive of Avangrid.
The Interior Department did not respond to questions about what was discussed at the meetings.
“There is nothing that leaves the Interior Department that doesn’t have to first cross the desk of the deputy secretary,” said a former high ranking Interior official, who requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing his career prospects. “It is a position that makes it very difficult to avoid any conflicts of interest.”
In Denmark, where the first offshore wind farm was built in 1991, a law mandates that fishermen be compensated for loss of income when other ocean users take up fishing grounds. According to the Danish Energy Agency, an offshore wind project will “necessarily” have an impact on fisheries in the area, and so it is essential to have a legal framework to address it.
By contrast, the U.S. hasn’t figured out how to compensate fishermen whose livelihood may be damaged. So far, the federal government has left the issue of compensation to developers. Some have offered one-time payments to the fishing industry. Vineyard Wind has committed about $21 million for Massachusetts fishermen, and South Fork Wind $2.6 million. But developers say they are financially squeezed by supply chain issues and proposed limits on turbine locations for the protection of whales. They don’t want their contracts with the government to build in additional payments for damages that may be attributed to their projects: the loss of historic fishing grounds, lost or wrecked gear and increased risk of accidents as vessel radar systems are disrupted.
In 2020, commercial lobsterman Vincent Damm made two trips to sea to bait his traps and discovered that more than a dozen were missing. Checking a vessel tracking chart, he saw that a survey vessel working with wind developer Ørsted had traveled directly over his gear.
He applied to Ørsted for compensation for his loss, which he valued at $3,900 and an independent consultant put at $1,800. Under Ørsted’s procedures, three people review fishermen’s claims: Two are Ørsted employees, and the third is a paid consultant for the company.
Ørsted concluded that its survey vessels were not at fault. On one occasion, the panel said, Ørsted’s vessel came no closer than half a mile from Damm’s traps. The other survey vessel followed the same track as Damm’s trawl, but equipment that could have snagged his gear wasn’t deployed. Ørsted also said other fishing vessels traveled near or over Damm’s gear.
Damm was never compensated and had to pay for new lobster pots. “I’m not going to lose sleep over it,” he said. “But if they do it now, they’re just going to keep doing it to someone else.”
Ørsted spokesperson Meaghan Wims said that the company does not comment on individual claims. It has received “very few claims for lost or damaged gear,” she said.
While the federal government has required oil and natural gas companies to compensate fishermen for damages for decades, BOEM lacks regulatory authority to do the same for damages from offshore wind projects. It has signaled off and on since 2014 that it will consider offering guidelines for compensation, but they have yet to be officially released.
A working group convened by BOEM early in 2022 discussed how to quantify economic losses for fishermen from offshore wind development. Notes of early meetings, obtained through a public records request, warned that habitat losses “would have direct impact on fishing.” But after BOEM’s lead biologist recommended toning down the language, the group’s final report said that offshore wind development “could” impact commercial fishermen and their revenue.
Last August, the New Bedford Port Authority wrote to BOEM, challenging what it described as “equivocal” language in the draft guidelines: “There is not one single entity, including BOEM, that reasonably thinks that such payments will not be necessary, so why is BOEM still using uncertain language in that instance?
“We strongly believe that the ‘burden of proof’ must lie with developers to prove to the fishing community that they are not causing environmental or economic harm.”
Markey has announced a plan to use funds from wind lease sales to establish a national compensation fund, though the legislation has not yet been filed. Markey’s office has received technical assistance from BOEM and NOAA in drafting the bill. “The long-term success of the offshore wind industry will depend on its ability to coexist not only with marine life but with the economic life of our commonwealth, including ports, fisheries, eco-tourism, and more,” Rosemary Boeglin, spokesperson for Markey, said in a statement.
Even if a national fund is authorized, it won’t be easy to calculate the cumulative economic loss for commercial fisheries. The task is complicated by inconsistent research methods used by developers, a lack of long-term studies and BOEM’s failure to conduct a comprehensive analysis of offshore wind lease areas off the New England coast.
“We’re building this ship as we’re sailing it,” NMFS scientist Andrew Lipsky said last October at a conference on wind power. “When we don’t think through the science, we often get ourselves in trouble.”
This month, a nearly 400-page report released by BOEM, NMFS and a fishing industry group said that the proliferation of wind farms is likely to impede regulators from collecting on-site data on the health of fish stocks. The lack of such information will result in “greater uncertainty” and “lost revenue to commercial and recreational fishermen,” the report said.
Fishermen worry that the lack of information on economic impact will favor developers in future negotiations over compensation. They also say the potential losses are a sum they never wanted to calculate in the first place.
“Fishing is my way of life. How do you put a price on somebody’s way of life?” Maine lobsterman Matt Gilley told wind developers, state and federal officials during a Zoom meeting in December. “There is no monetary compensation that will ever make it right.”
Correction: This report was amended on April 24, 2023. The original story omitted the names of two agencies that also signed on to a report conceding there would be negative economic impacts to fisheries. The document was produced with the Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA Fisheries, not solely by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Email reporters Will Sennott and Anastasia E. Lennon at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
I would really like to read the various scientific reports that are mentioned. Thank you.
I’m sorry to say that this is a pretty weak story. There are many people here making dire claims — but I don’t see any evidence. This would be OK if this technology were new, but it most certainly is not. Britain and in particular Denmark, which has a large fishing fleet, has a lengthy offshore wind track record. Instead of just quoting lots of upset people, why not dig up the scientific evidence from those long-extant projects? Tell us what damage these turbines have done in salt water environments there, and then tell us how those projects will compare to what’s projected here. By now you should be presenting us with lots of evidence rather than just sewing the seeds of fear. Additionally, I’d like to know alot of the data about offshore turbines and birds and bats. I was very surprised to know that there’s lots of evidence of bats out on some of these turbines. What’s going on there? If you’re gonna do a ProPublica thing, you need to dig a couple of layers deeper here.
Thank you, Wendy. I totally agree with your statement. The turbines are to be spaced about a mile apart. If necessary, can the fisherman fish between them. Also, there will only be 62 (granted, to start), that leaves many, many, many square miles to fish. Also, as you suggest, let’s examine European Data. This is a Great Story to increase awareness, but it’s incomplete.
Those assumptions might seem sensible on paper, but two important aspects that would be impossible to be aware of without a fishing background are: 1. Just because it is theoretically possible to navigate among the turbines, how safe is it to do so while fishing? Remember, the dangers are not just above the surface, but below the surface. Power cables, suspension systems etc. all have a scope that stretches the footprint of each turbine MUCH further out than just the diameter of the structure you see in a photo. Getting anything caught in a cable is very dangerous. Add in a generous dose of fog and the marine radar interference from the wind farm & you have a recipe for disaster. 2. The various species that fishermen harvest are not simply apportioned equally out throughout the entirety of the ocean. They only thrive and congregate in certain areas, many of which are the exact places that the developers want to piledrive and install these machines which will turn a vibrantly textured ocean floor from what is now something of a forest into what will quickly become a desert. From the physical trauma of installation as the sea beds are filled with this industrial debris, right on through the operation, as the chains scrape the ocean bottom smooth & the power cables emanate electromagnetic interference and the turbines themselves emanate constant pervasive noise many miles underwater in each direction, what is at risk of happening here is that the preferred habitats of many species are rendered unlivable for most of them, and the places they will flee to will not be conducive to life. Case in point: The small block island wind farm was installed in the midst of very productive fishing grounds. Fishermen who relied on it have now attested that the entire development area is now a dead zone.
Deferring to the existence of massive wind farms in Europe as proof that there were no bad consequences of their dive into this project is naive. Look up the reporting of Jason Endfield. He is a journalist across the pond who has personally catalogued many of the ugly harms of overseas wind farms not covered or promoted by state media. There are not any convenient studies on the negative effects being bandied about by nations who have artificially designated offshore wind as a major new sector of their GDP…why would they risk inciting public sentiment against a done deal that the administrators are personally profiting from? As to Wendy’s mistaken thought that fishing presses on unhindered, she is clearly unaware that over the last couple of decades, foreign fishing fleets have been decimated and consolidated drastically by the OSW-shills’ fishery management policies, just as they have domestically. But then again, precision is not in the wheelhouse of someone who thinks that those of us raising the inconvenient truths about industrial floating wind are merely “sewing the seeds of fear” (with needle and thread, I presume? I need to upgrade to a sewing machine.)
Thank you for this very informative article. I’ve been a proponent of offshore wind development, but now I’m not so sure. It seems to be heading in the direction of every large energy project in America. I don’t want to see a handful enrich themselves at the expense of a vital fishery. There most certainly has to be a compensation structure for the fishing industry. I’ve seen this before during my visits to Newfoundland in the eighties. The fishery in Ottawa ignored the pleas of the inshore fishermen that foreign factory ships from Russia and Japan were over harvesting Caplin, a small fish that every marine animal depends on. Within a handful of years, the inshore fishery was decimated. We must tread carefully when we do anything in our oceans.
During petroleum development in the Santa Barbara Channel a fisheries mitigation fund was set up.
It had mixed success.
The lessons do not seem to be brought forward.
I am happy to discuss.
hall of fame reporting
Remember, everything the Biden administration has promoted, has been a total failure! Off shore wind will be paid for by the taxpayers the abandoned in place. Look it has already happened in Europe. It takes seven years of continuous operation just to reclaim the energy it takes to build one windmill. This will be an environmental disaster, follow the science!
$5 billion generated last year from wind site leases with no earmarks or fishery compensation set asides, just lost into the US treasury directed by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA). This law needs to be amended to redirect these lost funds back towards the industries that will be affected by these lease sites, like commercial fishing. These funds will allow fishermen to adapt fishing practices, participate in more science, enable them to help with construction or maintenance of the wind infrastructure, or just get out and retire. It’s a lot of money that can do a lot of good and it is currently being wasted. Let’s amend OCSLA and get it back to the people most affected by where it is coming from.
Are there local groups that are opposing this off shore wind project that I could get involved with?
There are many groups on Facebook you can join that have a lot of information and ways of getting involved. I’m in New Jersey and Protect Our Coast NJ on Facebook is a great place to start.
Offshore wind is a boondoggle that will only benefit goverment fatcats, China and a few investors. It will NEVER produce significant steady reliable electrical power, the power cant be stored, it will require rapid start/stop backup power to compensate for when the wind does not blow, the equipment has an at best 10-15 year working life cycle and CANT be recycled effectively, the impacts on the biosphere near it (air currents and temperatures, ocean currents and temperatures, sediments, nutrients, electromagnetic fields near turbines and cables, bottom ecosystem damage, etc) will be immense to $500+ million dollar fisheries. Also it requires rare earth minerals that are NOT sustainably and fairly harvested.
Massachusetts officially declared April 24 as Right Whale Day to raise awareness. Next week ocean studies begin in Massachusetts. Many speculate that the sonar equipment wind companies use to map the ocean floor could fatally harm the whales. Whale deaths increased in 2016 with the Rhode Island wind farm and follow installations in NJ and NY
First, while “the Kennedys and other prominent families” absolutely fought Cape Wind, you can’t possibly write that they were successful in quashing the project. The project was approved and fell on its own reckless financial projections. Dig into that, and how the plug was pulled immediately by the planned purchasers of the power -right after Patrick left office. (Not much different from his reckless prognostications about the cost and timeline of NB commuter rail). So that needs a retraction or correction, because that summation is wholly untrue. Would also like to learn more about studies showing how these 2 industries can’t coexist, without all the hyperbole. The fishing industry has been doing this Chicken Little act for quite some time, while also being its own worst enemy in numerous ways – many well documented.
And perhaps in 2008 Alan Solomont was too busy making his riches to have been aware of
2006 AA winning documentaries by former VPs, or perhaps that’s just an inconvenient truth in his telling of what was known of the climate crisis in 2008.
The Fisherman that works on the boats won’t be compensated fairly, just the boat owners will receive any money and you know it isn’t going to be divvied up. The fishermen are the worst polluters of our oceans, pumping bilge water full of oil seeping out of mechanical equipment over the side at the end of watch on a daily basis. Most big boats go through 8,000-12,000 gallons of diesel fuel every 2-week trip and that exhaust isn’t treated like on a big truck on land, dumping TONS of toxins into the air that drift back to the ocean water poisoning marine life itself. Just watch the thick black flumes of smoke coming out of the stacks of boats as they scurry about the dock going to get ice in the morning. And while your down the dock, watch how many pounds of grub and supplies get loaded on the boat and watch how few garbage bags they throw in the dumpster when they return. Where did all the rest of the waste end up? On the bottom of the ocean, cans, bottles, old filters, red buckets, old nets, old wire, tons of paper products and their own excrement. Wind energy will bring jobs to the region and drastically cut emission by producing green electricity. Don’t let the “POOR THEM”(boat owners) blind you to how much the fishing industry polluted their own back yard.
There are many pros and cons to this as the U.S. would hopefully be able to harness some clean, renewable energy and make our country a little less oil dependent but, as the article says, at what cost?
I see that in the immediate vicinity around these windmills, fishing grounds will be closed and yes, it will hurt the bottom line for most of the fishing industry there may be a silver lining… These same ‘protected’ areas have the potential to really bloom with new, unimpeded life which may actually help replenish some of the surrounding depleted fishing grounds.
Imagine an area where there is no fishing and allowing some of the sea life to make a comeback. I know it may be a tough sell and maybe even a bit over-zealous wishing but is it a possibility?
Fisheries compensation for how many generations?
The cod are gone, fished to point of collapse, the water is warming and lobster have moved out, sea level rise threatens our shores and cities. It is either stop burning carbon or render large areas of the planet uninhabitable. Wind turbines offer a path to that goal. We need to do this.
Perhaps they are downplaying the effects because they are minimal? European fishing hasn’t collapsed and they’ve been usung wind for decades. Compare that to an industry that would uncontrollably rape the environment for a buck! Boats with diesel engines spewing CO 24 hours a day. Ecosystems ravaged from dragging nets, overfishing, and misrecorded catches. This rampant destruction effects all of us. It’s proven that off-sea wind farms create ecosystems that serve as incubators for all levels of sealife. All the detractors are trying do is create some interference so that they can make another buck off the process!
It is interesting to hear the opinions of people who hate fishermen and the ways fisheries have been managed, but the things they are describing are about 50 years behind us. Fishermen have changed over the years along with the rest of society. We voluntarily go to great lengths to fish cleanly and dispose of our used oil and garbage in environmentally responsible ways. Every port I go to has a used oil collection point where used oil is received and recycled. We are all concerned about plastics and other garbage ruining the ocean.
As to the use of diesel fuel: Yes, diesel by far the best way to power a fishing boat. That’s the first thing you learn when you start working on the water. It is very similar jet fuel, which remains the best way to power a jet airplane. Perhaps technology will eventually advance to a point where something else is possible, but that day is not here yet. Study have shown that wild caught seafood has the lowest carbon footprint of any widely available protein source and that is something to celebrate.
As to fishermen ‘raping’ the ocean: Every U.S. fishery is now managed to be sustainable. In fisheries where not enough stock assessment data is available to accurately peg what ‘sustainable’ is, the harvest targets are set conservatively low. Is there illegal and unsustainable fishing going on in the world? Yes, but not by U.S. fishermen. The question is: Does our government have the spine to put effective, even military, pressure on countries that ARE raping the ocean?
As to the Chicken Little story: It seems to me that trashing our oceans with windmills, their noise pollution, their blade flicker, their 100 mph + blade tip speed, the sonic surveys, the trenching and all the rest of it without taking the time to evaluate the effects, especially with the new floating wind platform technology because climate change is about to reach a ‘tipping point’ is pretty much like the Chicken Little story. If ever there was a threat where we had time to react in a considered and thoughtful way, climate change is it. The absolute worst thing about the Offshore Wind ‘solution’ is the RUSH.
“Fifty years behind us”? In the news last week, the government arrested six individuals boat owners for misrepresentation of income, species etc.. The ghosts of Carlos Raphael are still around, and these are the current guys they caught. How many didn’t they get? Did the fishing industry turn them in? Can you recall when the fishing industry first took a pro-active stance, by themselves, voluntarily, to assess, regulate and nurture the species stocks of fish? Neither can I, never! They were guided then forced by the government to do so. If the government didn’t act imagine where they’d be now! Not only is something needed to be done, it needs to be done right! If you are looking for the fishing industry to lead, ahhh don’t hold your breath!
How much longer do you want to wait? Have you had time to take in the news? People are dying due to accelerated weather action around the world. When you start to see your next neighbors falling will you then be concerned? The timer is counting down to an unprecedented future that no one has seen or predicted. Do we take the bob and weave path of complacency and do nothing? The fishing industry looks at all this and only sees money. The rest of us see life!
Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions. These are created by industrial development. So climate change is a symptom of industrial development. That is the extractive industries of mining, deforestation, agriculture, factory fishing and dams which provide, through production, manufacture, transport, installation and operation, the current conveniences of a modern way of human life.
Industrial development destroys ecosystems. More industrial development, by the installation of thousands of offshore wind turbines, will not solve the problem of climate change. There’s one inescapable truth about the headlong rush to cover vast swaths of our countryside and oceans with 800-foot-high wind turbines: the more turbines that get built, the more wildlife will be harmed or killed.
The production of the materials as well as the manufacturing processes for wind turbines and associated infrastructure of the extracted energy storage and transmission are made possible by burning fossil fuels. To obtain the raw material used in wind turbines, habit is destroyed through open pit mining and mountaintop removal. These are then transported to processing plants to be turned into the component parts. It will take a tremendous amount of energy to mine the materials; transport and transform them through industrial processes like smelting; turn them into wind turbines, batteries, infrastructure, and industrial machinery; install all of the above,
and do this at a sufficient scale to replace our current fossil-fuel-based industrial system. In the early stages of the process, this energy will have to come mostly from fossil fuels, since they supply about 80 percent of current global energy. Their emissions will be added to the current use emissions. After manufacture, the turbine parts need to be transported to the project location. The construction and operation of offshore wind farms increase boat traffic also leading to more greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. All of which adds to a non-existent carbon budget and thus increasing climate change.
Thank you for being one of the few brave voice to question Offshore Wind. The data doesn’t support it as a safe, viable option for reducing climate change,
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) admits the projects will have no measurable influence on climate change. Sean Hayes, division chief of NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, stated that: “oceanographic impacts from installed and operating turbines cannot be mitigated,”which will further threaten the dwindling North Atlantic right whale
population. NOAA has granted or is in the final stages of granting offshore wind companies permission to “take” or disturb, injure, or cause the death of 716,978 marine mammals, including 25,078 whales21. This needs to stop.
I attended a NMFS event for science/fishermen in Providence this winter, and no one I talked to (either biologists or comm fishermen) could explain how the magnetic field generated by the transmission wires will impact fishes’ lateral lines. We did see a data set showing that there were no fish within 500 yards of the small windmills near block island. Fish love structure, so this makes no sense. Also, thank you for using the correct non-gendered term ‘fishermen’… ‘fishers’ are small carnivorous mammals that don’t even eat fish.
https://app.electricitymaps.com/zone/CA-ON. Ontario is 60 % CANDU NUCLEAR POWERED GRID is on of the lowest emission grids on Earth. Scroll over to Offshore Wind king Denmark with 3 to 4 X the EMISSIONS! Off shore wind is a SCAM and show me the Numbers.
Leave a comment