Several opponents to Deepwater Wind’s wind farm project proposed for off the coast of Block Island have formed a political action committee (PAC). They plan to protest the project, particularly in regard to the wind turbine’s cable landfall in Narragansett, R.I.
The group, called Deepwater Resistance, has met informally in the past with about 20 members, said its chairman, Robert Shields, who is a Narragansett resident. Deepwater Resistance plans to meet in early August as an official PAC to discuss its next steps, which will include fundraising for advertising, as well as spreading its message to state government.
“By forming the PAC, we created an opportunity for any opinions to be voiced,” said Shields. “We’re gearing up to raising some money and spread information statewide.”
The PAC plans to respond to a decision to be made by the Narragansett Town Council about the cable landfall there, said treasurer Myron Waldman. Deepwater is offering the town $2.25 million for work that would include a submarine transmission cable to make landfall at Narragansett Town Beach and follow an onshore route to a switchyard. The council has not issued a decision on this matter yet.
Waldman said that he hopes the council will refuse the offer from Deepwater.
“We didn’t like the route at all. We didn’t like the fact that they were coming ashore at the town beach, and up through probably the most densely populated part of Narragansett,” said Shields. “It’s just as if they [Deepwater] picked it to throw it at our face. We don’t appreciate that.”
Shields said he hopes Deepwater will change its proposal and suggest the cables make landfall elsewhere. “If Deepwater doesn’t change the plans, we’re going to really go into high gear and mobilize public opinion,” he said.
While the group is focusing on the Narragansett part of the project, Shields said that there are members of the group who are summer residents on Block Island, and the PAC will look at aspects from the Block Island perspective. Shields and Waldman are both Narragansett residents. Deepwater Resistance vice-chairman Gerald McCarthy is also from Narragansett. The group allows contributions and sign-up at its website, deepwaterresistance.org.
According to Deepwater Resistance’s mission statement, which was dated July 13, “The primary mission of Deepwater Resistance PAC is to protect the environment within Narragansett and other communities similarly affected by the egregious intrusion of new infrastructure into densely populated residential or scenic neighborhoods proposed by [Deepwater Wind].”
The statement also says: “It is our hope that this PAC and its associated website will provide a single site for sharing factual information about the wind farm proposal by Deepwater Wind Block Island (DWBI) and to provide a web forum for public comments. This is a wholly grass roots effort by public spirited citizens with no financial backing from any political or business organizations.”
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