Letter: Let’s stick to the facts on SouthCoast Wind proposal

Posted 6/2/23

To the editor:

Regarding the SouthCoast Wind proposal, it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation and disinformation gets thrown around on this subject. But, when you examine the …

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Letter: Let’s stick to the facts on SouthCoast Wind proposal

Posted

To the editor:

Regarding the SouthCoast Wind proposal, it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation and disinformation gets thrown around on this subject. But, when you examine the readily available facts on topic, these “misstatements” are readily exposed for the attempt to sensationalize what is actually a very clear topic. 

Having read Mr. Thompson’s recent comments, yet again, the same old falsehoods are being peddled. The wind farm is not “covering an area of 1,400 square miles,” but just 199 square miles, nor are there “1,500 turbines planned,” but 149 planned. This is all readily verifiable with both the CRMC’s review of the project, but also the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM): www.crmc.ri.gov/windenergy/southcoast.html; and https://southcoastwind.com/project-description.

The best way to determine what the environmental effects will be involving the building and operation of the wind turbines and the laying of power cables is best reviewed by an examination of the effects produced at the Block Island wind farm, as well as the very large offshore wind farms in Europe. 

Respectively, “Fish studies that continued during construction and for three years afterward revealed that the Block Island Wind Farm did not destroy but actually created marine habitat: mussels and barnacles quickly colonized the underwater structures, attracting fish. Now the turbines are the place to be if you want to hook a black sea bass, tautog, fluke or bluefish. As for lobster, well, this never was a prime lobster congregation spot — one reason the farm was sited here — though some evidence suggests that the electromagnetic fields of underwater cables may affect lobster navigation. (Smithsonian Magazine)

Next, “According to several authors, positive environmental impacts are linked to reserve and reef effects on the area of OWF deployment and mooring structures. These can function as artificial reefs and fish aggregation devices for small demersal fish, attracting more marine life than natural reefs. Evidence suggests that OWFs may enhance diversity in areas with homogeneous seabed. Also, the prohibition of bottom trawling near OWFs for safety reasons eliminates disturbance of fish, benthos, and benthic habitats, partially by providing protection from fishing. Findings suggest that negative impacts on fishing activities can be mitigated by spill-over effects due to increased catches (up to 7 percent, close to wind farms) and slight modifications in catch composition.” (Nature)

Finally, there are no “invasive species” that attach to the wind turbine bases, only native blue mussels, barnacles sponges, fans and seaweed, all of which are naturally in abundance and filter-feeding all up and down the coast and sea bottom as well, and “strangely,” the phytoplankton is not affected. Can we stick to the facts now?

Eric Husher

35 North Water St.

Portsmouth

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