The People have spoken. Will BOEM listen?

June 29, 2022
Heather Mann
Midwater Trawlers Cooperative

There’s no doubt that we are living in a hyper-polarized time in history. Divisiveness is at an all-time fever pitch. This is why it has been especially gratifying to witness citizens from all walks of life pulling together with one voice to protect coastal communities and the ocean environment.

Over the last several months a coalition of harvesters, seafood processors, marine biologists, engineers, fishermen’s wives, environmentalists, coastal legislators, and the public have been working tirelessly to educate the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE), the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and local municipalities about the known and unknown environmental and economic risks of rushing into offshore floating wind energy development. Some of our congressional representatives have also taken notice and acted, which is greatly appreciated by constituents. The sometimes personal and always passionate comments have come from everyone who cares about ocean health, the fishing industry, coastal communities, and marine wildlife. They have been united in their message – slow down this process, do robust impacts analyses upfront, ensure protection of marine mammals and birds, consider a test project initially, and consider moving turbines outside of 1,300 meters. More than a dozen municipalities representing tens of thousands of citizens have spoken out urging a course change.

Will BOEM listen?

That remains to be seen. The deadline for submitting comments on the Oregon call areas to BOEM was June 28. BOEM has said they will announce “wind energy areas” from within the call areas sometime this Fall. The Federal Register reports that 239 comments have been submitted on the topic – I expect most of them will carry the same message.

At the same time, the ODOE report on HB3375 is due to the Oregon legislature on September 15.  The results of HB3375 combined with the overwhelming pushback to the BOEM process should result in the State of Oregon asking for a pause on this process in the Fall.

Will it be enough?

If you haven’t had an opportunity to share your concerns, please consider contacting Governor Kate Brown’s office with emails to Amira Streeter and Jason Sierman . Please also consider signing our petition which can be found here.