Mitchell: Wind Developers Must Take Fishermen Seriously [VIDEO]
Earlier this week, fishing industry officials sent a letter to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker asking for a larger role in the decision making when it comes to granting the state's first offshore wind contract.
The letter particularly asked for the New Bedford Port Authority to act as the mediator between commercial fishing and wind energy, and in his weekly appearance on WBSM, Mayor Jon Mitchell said that request makes "all the sense in the world."
"The place where these two industries intersect more than anywhere else will be New Bedford," he said, noting he agrees that the fishermen haven't been given enough of a voice. "That's why we're prepared to do something about it."
Mitchell, who as mayor is also chair of the Port Authority, says the fishermen have valid concerns that he feels may have fallen on deaf ears.
"It has to do with safe navigation through wind farms, and with the siting of new wind farms that might intrude on traditional fishing grounds," he said. "Wind developers have to do a better job of taking fishermen seriously, and we're going to work on that. We're going to make sure that they are taken more seriously."
Mitchell said the city previously sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management a few years ago, when a proposed wind farm off the coast of New York would have been constructed where fishermen traditionally fish for scallops.
The mayor met with Governor Baker on Tuesday, and said he was glad that Baker said he respects the fishing industry's interests, and will make sure they have a voice.