(NEWPORT, Ore) Protect US Fishermen, an informal coalition of more than two dozen organizations concerned about the environmental and economic impacts of proposed offshore wind farms in the Pacific Ocean, launched a new website on Monday.
Visitors to protectUSfishermen.org will find details not only on the current push to place wind turbine farms off the coast of Oregon, but also learn about the sustainable seafood industry and its positive impacts on the economy and food security.
For those wishing to gain a broad understanding of the debate surrounding offshore wind, the site provides a comprehensive overview. Those wishing to take a “deep dive” into the issue can click on a variety of links to well-documented studies and positions from credible sources around the world.
Heather Mann, executive director of Midwater Trawlers Cooperative and a member of the coalition, is worried that many Oregonians are unaware of the harm that offshore development could bring and hopes the website will help raise awareness.
“In a state as environmentally conscious as Oregon, I find it disturbing that the administration and many legislators are either unaware or are simply ignoring the well-documented science about negative impacts to the marine environment from turbine farms,” Mann said. She listed the direct threat to the California Current ecosystem as one example of the grave concerns about which visitors to the site can read.
The website is the next step in a growing effort to share information that already includes a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, and live events. Billboards, digital advertising, and print media are part of the coalition’s September campaign in advance of the Oregon legislature evaluating the future of offshore wind energy in the coming months.
While there has been considerable focus in Oregon’s coastal communities on offshore wind development, the website is aimed at educating people in other regions of Oregon and throughout the West Coast.
“I’m not sure that people in the valley actually understand what is at stake here,” said Josh Whaley, a third generation fisherman from Brookings, Ore. “The environmental community has largely been silent on the very real risks to the marine environment including to endangered whales and seabirds, as well as the habitat that supports sustainable fisheries. As a fisherman, I care deeply about ocean health and this effort toward educating Oregonians will hopefully lead to more informed decisions on how we transition to net zero emissions.”
Individuals who wish to get involved in the effort will find several options listed on the website, including contact information for elected officials, a petition urging the federal government to slow the rush toward offshore wind, and more.
Visitors to the site will also find a list of coalition members, including links to many of the organizations. A page dedicated to news and updates includes links to the resolutions passed by city, county, and tribal representatives up and down the Oregon coast who share concerns about the process currently utilized by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as it rushes forward with an aggressive offshore wind agenda.
To learn more about concerns with offshore wind farms, the impact of sustainable seafood on the nation’s food supply, and the positive impacts of fishing on coastal communities and the state of Oregon, visit www.protectUSfishermen.org.
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