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The “Ocean State” or the “Windmill State”? A Resignation that Speaks Volumes • Watts Up With That?

In a recent and rather dramatic turn of events, the Rhode Island Fisherman’s Advisory Board (FAB) has made a bold statement by collectively resigning from the Rhode Island Ocean SAMP process. Their letter, addressed to Jeff Willis, the Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), pulls no punches in its critique of the Council’s approach to offshore wind development.

“We, the undersigned members of the Rhode Island Fisherman’s Advisory Board (FAS), hereby resign and refuse to participate any longer in the Rhode Island Ocean SAMP process. It has become abundantly clear that the Rhode Island CRMC has made deference to offshore wind developers its top priority regardless of the requirements of the Ocean SAMP, the cost to the environment, or the impacts to Rhode Island’s fishing industry.”

This statement alone speaks volumes about the perceived shift in priorities of the CRMC. The FAB members believed that their role was to ensure that offshore wind projects conformed to the requirements and restrictions of the Ocean SAMP. However, their experience suggests otherwise:

“The Ocean SAMP process has been reduced to mere political theater, to which we refuse to lend any further credence by our presence.”

The FAB’s frustration is palpable. They detail the countless hours they’ve invested, providing the CRMC with expertise, data, science, research, and experience. Yet, they feel their efforts have been in vain:

“Concurrence decisions are made ahead of time regardless of any other considerations, FAB expertise rejected and ridiculed by the Council as ‘anecdotal’ while the developer is free to provide misinformation with impunity…”

The letter paints a picture of a process that has lost its way, with the FAB feeling sidelined and their expertise undervalued. They highlight the stark contrast between the strict regulations they face in the fishing industry and the leniency shown to offshore wind developers:

“It is apparent that the Council does not take its regulatory role seriously. As the seventh-most regulated industry in the nation, we in the fishing industry know what it is like to be held to strict regulatory standards, including environmental standards.”

The FAB’s concerns extend beyond mere procedural issues. They point to tangible environmental impacts, such as the “decimation of cod spawning grounds” and “significant long-term impacts on Rhode Island’s fishing industry.”

In a poignant conclusion, the FAB members express their unwillingness to be associated with what they view as the Council’s misguided decisions:

“We will not allow our names to be connected in any way to Council approvals now amounting to wholesale ocean destruction. Rhode Island is supposed to be the Ocean State, not the Windmill State.”

The religious fervor and the profiting off government largesse of green tech bows to no petty environmental concerns.

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