AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, the Maine Senate voted to enact a compromise bill from Sen. Mark Lawrence, D-Eliot, with an amendment from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to responsibly research and develop offshore wind energy in the Gulf of Maine and protect the livelihood of Maine lobstermen. The vote was unanimous in both the House and Senate.
As amended, LD 1619, “An Act To Establish a Moratorium on Offshore Wind Power Projects in Maine’s Territorial Waters,” establishes the Offshore Wind Research Consortium, a group of stakeholders including members of the lobstering, commercial fishing and recreational fishing industries, to research the local and regional impacts of offshore wind projects. It also establishes a moratorium until March 1, 2031, on industrial wind projects in Lobster Management Zone 1.
“The climate change crisis is already impacting nearly every facet of our lives here in Maine, from changing lobster catches to spreading tick populations to extreme weather that causes property damage. We need to do all we can to explore and develop renewable energy sources to help combat climate change, and wind energy should be part of that,” said Sen. Lawrence. “This bill will help Maine move forward on offshore wind energy while protecting our working waterfronts and fishing territories.”
President Jackson introduced an amendment to LD 1619 to address concerns from Maine lobstermen that these offshore wind projects would threaten their ability to make a living.
“For generations, Maine lobstermen have proven to be great stewards of our environment — their livelihood depends on the longevity of our working waterfronts. As we embrace renewable energy and new economic opportunities, I’ve always believed that we could find a middle ground that works for both our hardworking fishermen and our energy goals,” said President Jackson. “I’m grateful to the fishing industry for coming to the table and working in good faith to find a commonsense solution.”
The bills now go to the governor’s desk for her approval. The governor has 10 days to sign the bill, veto the bill or allow it to become law without her signature.