First major offshore wind project in jeopardy of being blocked

The warming waters south of Cape Cod have decimated the region’s lobster fishery. But it’s an ambitious effort to fight climate change that has lobstermen like Lanny Dillinger concerned for their livelihoods.

Dillinger worries that the nation’s first major offshore wind farm, planned for the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island — a $2 billion project that will set precedents for the future of wind power in the United States — will transform the area into a maze of turbines and make it too treacherous to fish.

As a result, Dillinger and the rest of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Advisory Board took a unanimous vote last month that could threaten the project, which was designed to supply electricity to Massachusetts, and the Baker administration’s plans to curb carbon emissions.

“We’re not against wind farms — we just don’t want to be collateral damage and stomped out of existence,” said Dillinger, 55, the advisory board’s chairman, who fishes 800 traps in Rhode Island Sound. “If this goes forward, people will be dying out there. Vessels will be lost. And a lot of fishermen like me would be out of business.”

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