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Maine governor to pause wind projects, consult fishermen

January 25, 2021 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s governor said Monday she will call for a 10-year moratorium on some offshore wind projects and consult with fishermen and members of marine industries about future wind energy projects in the state.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, is a proponent of offshore wind, but many members of the state’s commercial fishing industry have expressed concern about what wind projects could mean for their businesses. Mills said her proposal would protect fishing businesses within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of coastal waters that are managed by the state.

Those waters are more heavily fished than federal waters, Mills said.

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“By focusing on floating offshore technology deep in the Gulf of Maine where the wind is strongest, we will protect Maine’s maritime heritage and coastal economy while being out front in this new competitive industry,” she said.

Mills’ proposal would go before the state Legislature. It wouldn’t apply to a demonstration site planned by New England Aqua Ventus that is already permitted. That project would include a turbine on top of a floating platform developed at University of Maine.

Aqua Ventus is also working on a project off Maine that would be the first floating offshore wind research array in the country if approved. Mills’s office said the governor is extending the timeline for feedback about the research array.

There are no active applications for offshore wind projects in state-managed waters, Mills’ office said.