Recognizing the effort the city has taken to brand itself as a hub of the offshore wind industry, Congressman William Keating is the latest to ask Gov. Deval Patrick to keep South Terminal’s official name as The New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal.
The facility is owned by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the state has used three different names for it since Sept. 12. Those names have included the Massachusetts Marine Commerce Terminal, the South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal and, most recently, the Massachusetts Marine Commerce Terminal in New Bedford.
In a letter sent to the governor last week, Keating reminded Patrick that city officials have been dedicated to the prospect of bringing offshore wind to Massachusetts, even traveling to Germany last year to visit port cities that support the industry there.
“The motivation for these efforts was largely to brand the city as a hub of our commonwealth’s and our country’s offshore wind industry,” Keating wrote. “Respectfully, I ask you to bear this in mind as discussions ensue around naming the facility. Inclusion of ‘New Bedford’ in the name will greatly complement the branding and marketing effort I have described.”
Patrick’s office referred all comment to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, which did not return three calls requesting comment.
Asked about Keating’s letter, Matt Kakley, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, released a statement about the terminal that did not address the name issue and did not address the facility by any official name.
“Each day brings us closer to the completion of this first-in-the-nation facility and the economic and environmental benefits that come along with it,” the statement said. “We will continue to work with the local and federal delegations to make sure this project – which will bring hundreds of jobs to New Bedford and the South Coast – gets off the ground on time.”
Keating is the most prominent figure yet to appeal to the governor on behalf of the city. Mayor Jon Mitchell has also asked the governor to keep New Bedford in the terminal’s name and 33 business and civic leaders wrote an open letter to Patrick asking the same.
On Wednesday, Keating said he sent the letter to signal that he is “really on the same page” with Mitchell.
“If you look at the investment in marketing that the city has made, that is something we should be reinforcing with the name,” he said.
New Bedford Wind Energy Center Director Matthew Morrissey said he was happy to hear of Keating’s advocacy, saying, “The congressman has long been a supporter of the job creation opportunities that offshore wind can bring to the city and to the region.”
“There is, throughout the city, a groundswell of frustration with this stripping of New Bedford out of the name,” Morrissey said. “I expect that the administration will continue to hear from folks in our city who are concerned about this diminishment.”
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