In the recently published article, “Interior Delays, costs may dim offshore wind’s prospects” “First in the nation” translates to “Nantucket, lab rat or guinea pig”
The permitting agency, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, acknowledges the offshore wind industry is presently unregulated and is allowing Vineyard Wind to adopt their own practice standards, in their COP. BOEM has adopted the approach of build Vineyard Wind first, see what goes wrong, and adapt from there.
“I really think the greatest uncertainty for things right now, and really for everyone who watches this industry, is what is going to happen after the first project gets built.” BOEM Acting Director Cruickshank said.
There are five offshore turbines off Block Island. Inadequate preliminary studies did not show the presence of rock. The two cables could not be properly installed and buried in 2016, they can never be buried, but the developers completed the project regardless, to meet their deadlines. Residents and visitors must now swim over an exposed high voltage cable.
“Will vessels navigate through the wind farm? Will fishermen fish within the wind farm? Will the concerns that people have expressed play out the way they fear they will? What issue might we have missed?’, Cruickshank asked.
But BOEM assured us Feb. 11, in our Athenaeum’s Great Hall, that liquidizing and pile driving 500 square miles of ocean floor, 14 miles off Nantucket’s south shore to install 100 turbines would have negligible environmental impacts!
“It’s the kind of thing everyone is worried about, but it’s nobody’s job to find answers,” Walt Mjusial, NRELL’s principle engineer and manager of offshore wind said.
BOEM assures us that Vineyard Wind’s self-imposed, mitigation efforts will protect the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whales in their Dynamic Management Area and important migratory path. But Vineyard Wind is going to be allowed to “self- monitor, self-restrict, and self- report” without any state or federal oversight or enforcement.
“We think it’s important for us to have a project out there – certainly one that’s well-sited and well-reviewed and makes sense to build – but then to look and see what happens as that is built and operates so that we can learn from that and adapt what we do along the way,” Director Cruickshank said.
BOEM’s EIS is not evidence, it is conjecture, and highly misleading. We object to the experimental nature of this project. We want answers to our questions, and hard scientific evidence. The first phase, Vineyard Wind, will commence what will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world, using new, untested, 700 ft. Danish-made turbines.
Will our sea life, the critically-endangered NARW be harmed?
Will our migratory seabirds and bats be killed as they fly in the same winds, the turbines will be spinning?
Will the infrasound generated by the eventual 1,400 sq. miles of 700 vibrating, spinning turbines with electromagnetic cables, just 14 miles away, make us sick?
Our Defense Department is worried, massive offshore windfarms will interfere with radar, sonar and our national security. What will that mean for us?
Have the turbines, each holding 4,000 gallons of oil, been tested in waters prone to hurricanes? What will happen in a Catagory 3 or higher?
A massive freshwater aquifer has recently been discovered, extending from our shore to the edge of the outer continental shelf. Will pile driving 700 turbines, hundreds of feet into the ocean floor, contaminate our island’s fresh water source?
Will the visual impact of a hundred turbines, cause us to lose our designation as the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark?
Why are our town officials not talking to us about this?
Final permitting is expected next month. Then the floodgates open and American federal tax dollars, billions of dollars, flow to over sea energy giants.
Six foreign developers will quickly join Vineyard Wind to develop our shores without state or federal regulation, oversight, or rules.
We say that no project should be allowed to go forward until there are answers.
Val Oliver is a member of ACK Residents Against Turbines. She lives in Nantucket.
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