Is Vineyard Wind Dead or Just Playing Dead? [OPINION]
The New Bedford fishing industry is celebrating the announcement that Vineyard Wind has withdrawn from the federal permitting process and the process has ended.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a part of the Department of the Interior, issued a statement on Tuesday, December 15, that finalizes the end of the permitting process to build an 800-megawatt wind energy turbine off of the coast of Massachusetts.
Because Vineyard Wind withdrew from the process on December 1, 2020, the permitting process "is no longer necessary and the process is hereby terminated."
Termination of the process "is effective immediately" and that exact verbiage is used in the letter to the government by Vineyard Wind and by the government in its announcement.
The fishing community has been opposed to the building of massive energy-generating wind turbines in the ocean and the damage they say the construction of those towers will do to the environment. The huge energy cables, leaking electricity, and running along the ocean floor from the generators to the mainland has also concerned the fishing industry and the people that earn a living from the sea.
There has been some discussion among wind supporters in the city about the demise of the project in the last year. The company recently hired former New Bedford City Councilor Dana Rebeiro to assist them with local support. Rebeiro is a capable organizer with strong progressive credentials and there is no doubt she will put her shoulder down and go helmet-first into this battle or the next one she is involved in.
The City of New Bedford under Mayor Jon Mitchell has put lots of effort into making wind energy a part of the economic mix for the city. The city has not lost focus on the fishing industry either; in fact, there are two projects to expand the fishing industry in front of the city council now.
So what happens next? Does Vineyard Wind blow away forever or does it come back stronger and ask the new Biden Administration to fast track the project that was stalled in the years of President Donald Trump?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.