Public support needed for offshore wind

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This Tuesday, I need you to fight for a livable future. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) is having a hearing for the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the entire nation and without public support it likely won’t go through.

The debate over whether or not to permit the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the nation occurs as we experience the warmest winter day on record. RI winters have gotten 4 °F warmer since 1970. If the temperature rises 2 °C, we will lose 99% of coral reefs and experience a 3 million tonne decline in marine fisheries, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We’re on track for 3-5 degrees warming, yet the precedent setting Vineyard Wind 800 megawatt offshore wind farm is held up in an arguably fossil-fuel favoring state agency, advised by the Fisherman Advisory Board (FAB) which has expressed clear opposition to the project.

What’s more, a climate denier in the Rhode Island House of Representatives put in legislation to create a study commission for the impact of offshore wind on marine life. I was at the initial hearing where it was clearly stated that their goal was to stock the commission up with corporate interests in the fishing industry.

The argument is clear-cut: Vineyard Wind has done everything it can to protect the ocean economy and ecosystem:

  • Began communication with fishermen in 2017 before they started permitting process
  • Ongoing communication with the FAB and stakeholders
  • Offering $30 million compensation package to directly compensate fishermen and adapt to climate change
  • Based compensation on an economic impact study by leading experts in the field
  • Reached historic agreement with conservation groups to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale
  • Ahead of the curve in contributing to the regenerative economy called for in the Green New Deal

For a more thorough explanation of the above, see my public comment here, or condensed op-ed here.


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About Nicole DiPaolo 3 Articles
Nicole DiPaolo is a climate activist in Rhode Island.