‘Done Playing Role in … Political Theater’: State’s entire fishing advisory board resigns in protest against offshore wind farms

All members of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Advisory Committee resigned On Friday, rallies were held to protest offshore wind projects under development along the state’s coastline.

All nine members of the Fisheries Regulatory Commission resigned after the Coastal Resources Management Council approved the 84-turbine Sunrise Winds project last week.

Since President Biden signed presidential decree The Rhode Island CRMC has approved five projects in 2021, aiming to double offshore wind development by 2030.

In a letter to CRMC Executive Director Jeff Willis, the members of the Fisheries Advisory Council said they would refuse to participate in the process, arguing that the CRMC would “respect offshore wind developers regardless of ocean demands.” are given top priority,” he said. [Special Area Management Plan]”

“I think Rhode Island needs to seriously rethink whether it wants to be a maritime state,” FAB member Megan Rapp said. WJAR-TV. “Or do you want to be a windmill nation?”

FAB Chairman Lanny Dillinger shared the letter “ecoRI News” Opinion article entitled “Fishermen’s Advisory Committee Plays Role in CRMC’s Political Theater”.

“As members of the FAB, we believe that the purpose of the FAB/CRMC review is to ensure that offshore wind projects comply with Ocean SAMP requirements and limits. The Ocean SAMP process has been reduced to a mere political arena and we refuse to give it any further credence by our presence,” the FAB letter states.

The Advisory Board argued that the approval process “became a mockery of what Ocean SAMP was designed to achieve.”

The FAB accused the CRMC of not taking its regulatory role seriously and instead “moving forward.”[ing] Offshore wind power development is the most important policy issue. The board also said the CRMC had failed to consider “environmental costs and impacts on Rhode Island’s fisheries.”

Fishermen fear that offshore wind projects could seriously disrupt commercial fisheries. Moreover, critics continue to speculate that offshore wind farms may be responsible for the recent spike in whale deaths.

“We will not allow our name to be tied in any way to board approvals that amount to ocean destruction. Rhode Island should be an ocean state, not a windmill state,” said the board. The meeting concluded.

The CRMC responded to the FAB on Friday. statementsaid, “I was disappointed to learn of the resignation of the FAB member.”

“The FAB has provided valuable information and insight to the CRMC for federal integrity reviews on offshore wind energy projects,” state officials continued. “Unfortunately, these resignations will not affect the CRMC’s scope of assessment, obligations or schedule. We continue to look forward to continuing to participate in the public process for considering projects.”

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