BOSTON — Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) secured bipartisan legislation today to ensure protections for commercial fishing interests prior to any future increased offshore wind procurement.

His amendment to S2545, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, will require commercial fisheries impacts to be studied and considered prior to any increased offshore wind procurement.

In 2016, the legislature directed the procurement of 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind by 2027. Last month, the Baker Administration announced the first round selection of 800 megawatts of offshore wind development south of Martha’s Vineyard.

Throughout the process, commercial fishermen have raised concerns regarding offshore wind’s effect on navigation and fisheries habitat.

While federal guidelines require input from the fishing industry for offshore wind development, thus far fishermen have raised concerns that those federal guidelines lack specifics. Efforts are now underway through the Massachusetts Fisheries Working Group to build consensus and a detailed study plan.

In the meantime, Montigny’s latest efforts will require the Commonwealth to identify and consider offshore wind effects on commercial fisheries prior to any procurement beyond 1,600 megawatts. It further stipulates that any plan to increase procurement must also identify measures to mitigate fisheries impacts. Montigny filed the amendment, entitled Offshore Wind Effects on Commercial Fishing, to the omnibus energy bill S2545. Working with Senator Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Montigny secured the amendment with the support of the bill’s sponsor, Senator Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton) and bipartisan coalition of Senators.

“Offshore wind presents significant economic opportunities for New Bedford and the Commonwealth,” said Senator Montigny, key Senate supporter of the 2016 offshore wind legislation. “However, we must be certain that fishermen who have relied on our oceans for generations to earn a living are heard and that their concerns are seriously and adequately addressed. This decades-old billion dollar industry provides serious job creation and economic output that we must not forget. I look forward to these two industries thriving together along our unique working waterfront in the years to come.”

--Sen. Montigny's Office

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