State officials have asked the federal government to reduce by half a nearly 3,000-square-foot area off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard currently being considered for offshore wind development. The area in question includes shipping lanes and habitats important to the Massachusetts fishing industry.
“Governor Patrick is committed to making Massachusetts the nation’s offshore wind energy leader. We submitted a proposal that would move the commonwealth toward that goal while safeguarding waters important to our commercial fishing industry,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr.
The state’s request follows months of protracted discussions with commercial fisherman, scientists and local officials who stand to be affected by the wind farm. According to the federal government’s original plan, the wind farm would be located on the Outer Continental Shelf, near the fishing-rich George’s Bank region. The turbines would begin 14 miles off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Officials are seeking to exempt an eastern part of the proposed area, including Nantucket Shoals, a valuable fishing area.
The wind farm is not associated with the Cape Wind Energy Project, which was approved for construction earlier this week.
The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE) first announced their intention to build a wind farm in federal waters in December. Since that time, members of the Dukes County Fishing Association and representatives from both the state and federal government have convened to debate the details of the project and submit their concerns.
In February, members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation successfully lobbied the federal government to extend the public comment period on the project. The state submitted its proposal to reduce the proposed wind farm area on Monday, the last day of the extended public comment period.
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