The Lincoln County Commission and Oregon Coast commercial and recreation fishers are in “yell mode” over federal plans to approve a giant wind energy farm 16 miles off Coos Bay. They say the Wind Float/Principle Power project would dramatically affect the Whiting fishery along the Oregon Coast – one of the more lucrative fisheries for the Oregon Coast economy.
A Lincoln County Commission protest letter was sent out today asking the federal agency in charge of the process to back off and start the permitting process over, mainly because the agency moved ahead without adequately consulting Oregon’s fishing industry and other related interests. Commission Chair Terry Thompson, himself a commercial fisherman, said the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) did not do its homework in siting the proposed Wind Float project because if they had they would have realized that it’s right on top of one of the most strategic fishing areas off the Oregon Coast. Thompson told News Lincoln County that “It’s not too late to do this right. There are areas where the wind farm could be placed that doesn’t hurt the fishing industry.”
Thompson said the commission asked BOEM to do ALL the research necessary to ensure that wind energy interests are not given the impression that everything is moving along fine only to learn later that it’s not. Thompson said the focus should be on a thorough process, with everyone at the table, so everybody gets it right the first time.
Thompson said the protest letter was sent to BOEM and to U.S. Senators Wyden and Merkley and to Congressman Kurt Schrader.
Thompson says the permitting process for the Wind Float project could take up to three years to complete so there is plenty of time to do a better job of figuring out where the project should be located.