Maine’s fishermen are pushing for a complete ban on offshore wind turbines amid concerns the benefits won’t outweigh the costs borne by those who earn a living on the water.
In response to those concerns, a Republican-backed bill, proposed by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, would prohibit state agencies from permitting offshore wind projects.
More than 50 testified on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, before the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee. Fishermen were mainly concerned with the impact that wind farms will have on the environment in the Gulf of Maine, and worried that wind farms would disrupt the ecosystem and threaten fishing opportunities.
Opponents of Faulkingham’s bill are worried it will prevent much-needed economic development opportunities for Mainers.
Governor Janet Mills proposed a counter bill, LD 1619, that would prevent offshore wind development on state managed lands or waters for the next 10 years.
Mills’ bill would prohibit the state from providing any licenses or permits allowing “the siting, construction or operation of a windmill or wind turbine 36 or tower for an offshore wind power project in state-owned submerged lands or Maine’s 37 territorial waters.”
Supporters of Mills’ bill agreed that it would allow for more opportunities to study and understand the impact of offshore wind projects and develop sophisticated technology in the future.