Block Island Wind Farm
Block Island Wind Farm Photo Credit: Deep Water Wind

STATE HOUSE – Sen. Susan Sosnowski called newly announced changes to the proposed wind farms off the coasts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts “a positive development” that will better address some of the needs of commercial fishermen and others who work on the water or use it recreationally.

However, she added, the proposals still present some obstacles to local users, and she urged regulators to vigilantly protect the waters’ existing uses.

Senator Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) said that, in particular, changing the orientation of the proposal to align the turbines east to west will accommodate the fishing practices of some commercial fisherman who fish in the area.

“It’s a positive development that the proposal now reflects some of the fishermen’s needs for alignment, as well as the industry’s request for one-nautical-mile spacing that was not in the original plans. While there are still some significant concerns with these proposals, I consider it progress that these adjustments have been made to help protect our fishing industry,” said Senator Sosnowski.

Among her remaining concerns, Senator Sosnowski includes the removal of designated transit lanes through the turbines and the overall size of the projects.

“While I am pleased that these changes have been made in recognition of our valuable fishing industry’s needs, I will continue to advocate for the fishing industry and remain concerned that this proposal still poses considerable risks to the safety and livelihood of our hardworking fishing industry’s workers,” said Senator Sosnowski.

Developers have submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard plans that include the changes for the two proposed wind farms, one for an 84-turbine array off Martha’s Vineyard and the other for 15 turbines in Rhode Island Sound. The proposals are still on hold as the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management reviews the concerns of the fishing industry.

Source: Rhode Island General Assembly Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau

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