Cape Wind Rebuts Fishing Group’s Claim

Mark Rodgers, the communications director for Cape Wind—the company that plans to build a 130-turbine wind farm on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound—has issued a letter refuting the claims of a Martha’s Vineyard fishing group that is raising money to fight the company and the federal government for permitting the wind farm project. The fishermen intend to sue on the grounds that the wind farm will restrict commercial vessels in their ability to fish for conch and other species.

The figure above shows what a 45 foot sailboat would look like centered between 4 turbines within the wind park. Illustration submitted by Cape Wind.

In his letter, Rodgers points out that Cape Wind’s lease agreement with the government prevents the company from prohibiting “vessels from entering, operating or anchoring in the leased area or establish exclusionary zones in the leased area.”

He also points out that the individual turbines will be spaced at least .34 nautical miles apart, the length of 3 football fields, leaving plenty of room for vessels to fish and maneuver.

Rodgers’ letter is printed below:

Chart Showing Wind Farm area.

“The Vineyard Gazette published an article on December 10 reporting the views of a fishing organization that is trying to raise funds for a lawsuit against Federal Agencies that have approved Cape Wind.

Unfortunately readers of that article may have been left with the false impression that Horseshoe Shoal could become off limits to fishermen because Cape Wind could restrict boating in the area —this is not the case.

It is important that fishermen, boaters and the general public be aware that there is a provision in the lease granted to Cape Wind by the U.S. Department of Interior that states, “The Lessee [Cape Wind] shall not prohibit vessels from entering, operating, or anchoring in the Leased area or establish exclusionary zones in the Leased area.”

On July 2, 2010, the Barnstable Patriot published an article entitled, ‘Coast Guard: We won’t close wind farm area’ which dispelled similar rumors, in which a Coast Guard official stated that closing the area to boating “has not been contemplated by the Coast Guard nor anyone else I know of.”

The reality is that the wind turbines will be separated six to nine football fields apart allowing ample room for fishermen to navigate and fish.

The diagram accompanying this letter depicts a 45 foot boat in the middle of a turbine quadrant that visually demonstrates the amount of open water a boat captain traveling onto the shoal would have to navigate among the wind turbines.

Further, the U.S. Department of Interior, after years of study, concluded in its Final Environmental Impact Statement that the impact of Cape Wind on fisheries and fishing will be minor and that the structures may increase the abundance of certain species of fish from the addition of hard surface habitat to the shoal.

For its part, Cape Wind will work constructively with the fishing community during project construction and operations to minimize any disturbance to their ongoing activities. We will be good neighbors as we harvest a new and important catch on this shoal, abundant and inexhaustible clean energy.

Mark Rodgers, Communications Director
Cape Wind, North Falmouth, MA

Related Story:

Boating Local:  Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen Vow to Fight Wind Farm, Feds

What are your reactions regarding the Fishermen’s claims after reading Mark Rodgers response?

Please share your views below.