U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree, and Maine Gov. Janet Mills have sent a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), urging them to completely exclude Lobster Management Area 1 (LMA 1) from the Wind Energy Area (WEA) for potential wind power development in the Gulf of Maine.
The letter was sent following last month’s release of the draft WEA which excluded much of LMA 1 but identified two Secondary Areas within LMA 1 for further input and possible inclusion in the final WEA.
The lawmakers and governor assert that “clean energy can offer economic and environmental benefits for Maine that must be pursued prudently and responsibly with a commitment to minimizing to the greatest extent possible the impact on fishermen, recreation and other crucial ocean uses that are critical to Maine.”
LMA 1 is a critical and highly productive fishing ground for a variety of sea life, including lobster. In a recent report, BOEM identified more than 9.8 million acres in the Gulf of Maine, including LMA 1 and areas closed seasonally or permanently to protect the North Atlantic right whale, as potential commercial offshore wind sites. Prohibiting offshore wind development in LMA 1 would help to avoid conflict with the New England commercial and recreational fishing industries, they say.
The letter, and the draft WEA announcement, follows a June letter in which Mills and the Maine congressional delegation urged BOEM to remove Lobster Management Area 1 and other areas from any further consideration for commercial offshore wind leasing and to fully consider the views and concerns of Maine fishing communities while it continues to weigh leasing areas.
A map of the draft WEA can be found on BOEM’s Gulf of Maine webpage. BOEM has opened a 30-day public review and comment period on the proposal. To comment on the draft WEA, visit https://www.regulations.gov/document/BOEM-2023-0054-0001. BOEM will accept comments through November 20.
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