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Board supports offshore wind legislation

By Christine Simmonds | Apr 28, 2021
Photo by: Christine Simmonds Friendship lobsterman Dustin Delano speaks to the Waldoboro Board of Selectmen April 27, asking for support of legislation regarding offshore wind projects.

Waldoboro — The Waldoboro Select Board agreed to write a letter in support of state legislation regarding offshore wind projects.

Friendship lobsterman Dustin Delano spoke at the Waldoboro Select Board meeting April 27 to request support for LD 101. This legislation will ban offshore wind projects up to three miles in state waters.

Delano, who is also the Vice President of the Maine Lobsterman Association, said the select boards in Friendship and Cushing have agreed to support the bill as well.

“Fishermen… have everything to lose and nothing to gain out of these projects,” Delano said.

Each offshore wind project takes up one square mile of ocean where fishermen are not allowed to operate, displacing them from their fishing space.

The underwater cables from these projects to various municipalities will cause unknown damage to the ocean floor habitat.

The current project off Monhegan is looking to run 42 miles of underwater cable to Boothbay, Delano said.

Underwater cables like this could damage Waldoboro clam flats and aquaculture projects.

This legislation does not stop any offshore wind projects, it just bans them within three miles of state waters.

Select board member Bob Butler said he supported the bill.

“Putting windmills on the Gulf of Maine is a bad choice,” Butler said.

There were plenty of wind farms in other states that were sustainable and on land, Butler said. These do not require a trip by boat to reach them, or miles of cable underwater.

The board voted unanimously to send a letter in support of LD 101. Delano said letters from the individual members of the board would also be helpful.

In other business, the board scheduled public forums on the upcoming vote for an A.D. Gray project and the donation of the Sylvania property.

The forum for the A.D. Gray property will be held May 13, with presentations at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

The Sylvania forum is May 18 at 6 p.m.

These discussions, facilitated by a moderator, will give members of the public the chance to ask questions about the projects, Town Manager Julie Keizer said.

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Keizer said. “I know I hear it on an almost daily basis.”

The two A.D. Gray projects are a community park through the A.D. Gray Park Coalition and affordable senior housing through the Volunteers of America. Keizer said she would be inviting members of both groups to present at the forum.

The park calls for the demolition of the former school building, while the housing project would convert the building to housing.

Both questions are on the June ballot.

The Sylvania forum will have representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection and present ideas and plans the town has for the land, which is being gifted to Waldoboro.

Waldoboro Emergency Medical Services Director Richard Lash spoke about upgrades to the public safety building.

Lash said these upgrades would allow more space for emergency medical technicians who are on overnight shifts, as well as updating the heat and air conditioning to be more efficient.

Planning and Development Director Max Johnstone spoke about a community development block grant for the Odd Alewives business.

The grant, which the town will apply for, is through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The grant requires the business to create permanent jobs and match half the funds they are requesting.

Odd Alewives plans to hire three individuals for the grant. They are requesting $90,000 from the state, and will provide $45,000.

Keizer publicly thanked town office employee Rose Roy for her hard work during the last week.

The office had to close due to a COVID-19 exposure, and Keizer and Roy were the only employees not in quarantine.

Waldoboro public meetings are posted on the town’s YouTube page. Meetings can be attended in person or through Zoom.

The next Waldoboro Select Board meeting is May 11 at 6 p.m. Limited space is available for in person attendance. To attend in person, contact the town office at 832-5368 for confirmation of space.

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