A key approval for the $2-billion off-shore wind project is set for Jan. 22
NARRAGANSETT — Less than three weeks before Rhode Island coastal regulators are set to vote on a key approval for its $2-billion offshore wind farm, Vineyard Wind has yet to come forward with a compensation package for the state’s commercial fishermen who say that the layout of the company’s 84 turbines will block access to valuable Atlantic Ocean fishing grounds.
The Coastal Resources Management Council granted the New Bedford company a reprieve Nov. 27, delaying a vote on the application for what’s known as a “consistency certification” for the 800-megawatt wind farm specifically to give the developer more time to reach an agreement with fishermen who catch squid, lobster, Jonah crab and other species in the waters targeted for development between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard.
But with the Jan. 22 council vote fast approaching, members of the state’s Fishermen’s Advisory Board complained at a meeting Thursday that they still haven’t seen a payment offer from Vineyard Wind. They also singled out Gov. Gina Raimondo for criticism, saying that her administration, which is leading discussions with Vineyard Wind, isn’t adequately representing the fishing industry’s interests.
“The deal you need to make is with the Rhode Island fishing industry and our partners in Massachusetts, not the governor,” said board chairman Lanny Dellinger.
When pressed by Dellinger and others, Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen acknowledged that time is growing short, but would not commit to submitting a proposal before Jan. 15, when the board is scheduled to vote on a recommendation to the council.
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