The federal government has announced a 30-day extension for public comment on a proposed 3,000-square-mile leasing area for wind energy projects south of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Fishermen and lawmakers have bemoaned the process that led to the area’s designation for wind energy development. Fishermen in New Bedford and on the Vineyard voiced a range of concerns during two meetings with state and federal officials last week.
A task force of federal, state and local officials has worked for the past year on developing the leasing area. U.S. Interior Department officials said recently that the proposed leasing area would likely shrink as more information and public comment became available.
The original deadline for comments was Feb. 28.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation, including U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Newton, sent a letter to the Interior Department this week calling for more time for public comment and more consultation with the fishing industry. “We’ve got a win today,” Frank said Thursday about the extension.
If the monthlong extension for public comment is deemed inadequate, it’s likely more time could be added, Frank said.
To comment electronically, go online to www.regulations.gov,, enter BOEM—2010—0063, then click search. Send comments by mail to Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Office of Offshore Alternative Energy Programs, 381 Elden St., Mail Stop 4090, Herndon, VA 20170.
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