Equilibrium/Sustainability

Biden administration considering payments to fishing industry to offset offshore wind losses: report

The federal government is reportedly examining a plan to financially compensate the commercial fishing industry for business lost as a result of expanded Atlantic wind power, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The report comes as the industry has come out strongly against the proposed offshore wind projects, which they say could interfere with both the ecosystems and harvesting of scallops, clams, squid and lobster.

The U.S. has fallen far behind Europe in the development of offshore wind amid heavy lobbying against permitting for large-scale projects by the fishing industry.

Nine coastal states also urged the federal government to develop plans for addressing the potential damage to fisheries in a letter earlier this month.

Signers of the letter, including New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, Maryland and New Hampshire, called on the administration to develop "mitigation frameworks for demonstrated negative impacts" on the affected fisheries, according to Reuters.

"Building on the request made in the multi-state Governor's letter, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has had preliminary discussions with counterparts in other signatory states on engaging the federal government to advance an equitable mitigation framework for potential impacts to the commercial fishing industry from offshore wind projects," New Jersey officials said in a statement, according to Reuters. "While in early stages of development, NJDEP anticipates more to be shared in the coming months."

The National Environmental Policy Act calls for all projects on federal land or property to offer compensation in situations where they cannot avoid or minimize their impact.

Details for any compensation plan are still in the works, according to Reuters.

"We can see a benefit to a more regional approach to mitigation, but at the same time, we want to continue to engage with all the stakeholders including state and federal agencies, fishermen, and other developers as the conversation evolves to ensure the best outcome," Vineyard Wind, which is developing the first major U.S. offshore wind farm, told Reuters in a statement.

The Hill has reached out to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for comment.

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