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Fishing Industry Group Seeks Pause On Offshore Wind Planning During Pandemic

A fishing industry group wants New Hampshire and neighboring states to put off planning offshore wind development during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, or RODA, sent a letter to the governors of Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Tuesday. The group represents the fishing industry in states with offshore wind development.

Among RODA's requests is a six-month halt on the federal planning process for putting wind turbines in the Gulf of Maine. Their letter raises concerns that efforts to fight COVID-19 will limit the public’s ability to weigh in on the process – especially for fishermen.

“The fishing industry has been hit especially hard by the pandemic,” RODA says in a statement, “forcing the commercial fishing sector to divert time and effort to addressing the current crisis, and leaving insufficient opportunities for engagement in offshore wind siting and other planning.”

The Gulf of Maine states are still in the early stages of their wind planning process, which kicked off with federal regulators in December. Their first step in the next year or so will be to research an area of federal waters off the three states’ coastlines where leases for turbines could be sold.

Officials say it’ll likely be around a decade before any wind project comes to fruition in Atlantic Ocean waters off Northern New England.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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