April 9, 2014
Workers from the federal office in charge of leasing offshore lands to wind farms knew they were facing a skeptical audience when they traveled to Montauk Tuesday morning to discuss their leasing program with Montauk fishermen.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is responsible for the leasing of lands to Deepwater Wind, which is building a small demonstration wind farm of the coast of Block Island and plans to build a bigger wind farm, which could be the first in the country, 30 miles offshore from Montauk.
Those leases are already in place, and BOEM is currently looking for feedback from New York fishermen on two other Atlantic areas that could be used for wind production, including one near the New York Bight off the southwestern coast of Long Island and one off the coast of New Jersey.
The meeting served as the opening session for a three-day long meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council in Montauk. Though only four people RSVP’d for the session before it began, the room was packed with fishermen who took a mixed view on offshore wind.
BOEM’s Renewable Energy Program Manager Maureen Bornholdt told the crowd of fishermen who gathered in the Montauk Yacht Club Tuesday morning that, though the leases for Deepwater Wind are already in place, there are still several phases of data gathering and analysis that must be done by the developers before the project is built.
Captain Joe McBride of the Montauk Boatman’s and Captain’s Association said his group wants to give BOEM a chart of important fishing and transit areas to help them avoid political roadblocks while running the electric cables and building the turbines.
“We support sound renewable energy,” he said. “It will bring new jobs and industry into New York State. It would be to your advantage to know what areas are important to us.”