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Fishermen Speak Out at Augusta Rally Against Offshore Wind Initiatives

Riley Eaton, lobsterman and graduating senior, Deer Isle-Stonington High School “I’m an avid supporter of sustainability renewable energy and keeping our earth green. However I do not believe that sticking windmills in the middle of the delicate ocean ecosystem will solve any of our problems. In fact I think it will cause more disruption and disturbance than the small amount of energy we gain is worth… Why is it OK for there to be many vertical lines holding floating windmills in place but not OK for fishermen to have these lines? The impact on our marine ecosystem will be exponential in ways we don’t even know yet… These turbines are threatening our industry, my future. … If we don’t fight this now we might not have the opportunity to in the future.”

Billy Bob Faulkingham, lobsterman and Representative from Winter Harbor “We fishermen are great stewards of the environment because we depend on it to make a living… These gigantic pieces of garbage…. are a terrible idea for the marine environment… One of the great selling points is that we could be the first in this science project. But why? Why would we do that when we have so much value in the Gulf of Maine would we be a science lab for this experiment?… What does a chain link the size of a Volkswagen car do when it dredges the ocean bottom with every ebb and flow of the tide? Absolute devastation… And they’ve hired one of the biggest money lobbyists in Augusta to be lobbying our legislators over there. And I can tell you one thing. There is no lobbyist more powerful than these people right here! Make your voice heard. Say no to windmills in the GOM.”

Andrew Dorr, Town Manager, Vinalhaven “I’m here today to insist that people that are part of the long heritage and protection of the ocean be given a voice to ensure its future success. The lobster fishery makes up an overwhelming majority of our local economy either directly or indirectly… The state’s proposed research array in offshore wind development in the Gulf of Maine needs to be reviewed and pursued with only the best interest of the commercial fishing industry in mind. We ask that you slow down take the time to work with commercial fishermen and other ocean users.”

Clinton Collamore, lobsterman, Waldoboro “We’ve always got through it, made it work. It’s our way; the Maine way. But now there are things that are taking away from our industry that are beyond us. We need help… The powers that be need to step up and support our industry… We have to do this one voice, not the ‘I and me’ attitude. That’s how I was brought up and it’s not that way anymore. We are all in this together… Our efforts today, I believe, will determine the future of our children and grandchildren who may want to be part of this industry. So we must try."

Matt Gilley, lobsterman, Harpswell I’m an inshore fisherman, and these windmills aren’t necessarily going to be placed where I fish. I’m very involved, I’ve asked many questions; most of the questions they don’t have answers for. The conclusion that I’ve come to after all these meetings is that these mills are bad for Maine, bad for the environment, and bad for fishing. As stewards of the sea and our small owner operator businesses, we operate the most sustainable fishery in the world. We work our butts off to protect the environment and save it for the next generation… All as we are asking for is a plan, some studies to be done, show us the science, show us the data… They are trying to put an untested powerplant in the Gulf of Maine… They’re going to have three 2,500 foot chains securing them to the ground, each link will be the size of a full size truck. And as these turbines move up and down, these chains sweep the bottom crushing any sea life underneath them… The research array is being placed almost directly next to the area they want to close to fishing to help protect the endangered right whale… The rate payers, the general public; not just the fishermen are going to feel the pain from this… I love to fish, I want to continue fishing, but I also do not want to see my environment destroyed by offshore monstrosities.

Gerry Cushman, lobsterman, Port Clyde “You are hardworking fishermen who love your community. You get up extra early, to get in extra early to coach your kids. When something happens to your community, you guys step up to the plate and answer. They don’t give two craps about any of that. They care about green money and dividends. Diamond doesn’t look at you the way that most of you look at each other: hardworking people. They can’t see that. All they see is greed and money… I want us to stay united… please, stay the course, say no to offshore wind. Period!”

Ty Babb, lobsterman, Tenants Harbor “I measured up what the windmill might look like last night in my shop. This white rope symbolizes the 350’ upright tower. Three more ropes up in the parking lot 244 foot wings. The stuff down there that goes across the road is another 150 feet of underwater structure, 110 feet to help support it, and that is without the chain… Now it’s our job to what’s is going to effect? What kind of impact is that going to have and who is going to take responsibility for it?… I’m not sure that the people who designed this wind tower that is three time the height of the capitol building, that’s 185 feet, and this wind turbine is 600 feet, stood down there for 12 months and looked up in the sky and said ‘Who flies by here?’, ‘Who swims by here?’, ‘Whose spot is this?’ I don’t believe that’s a corporation’s spot, I believe that is nature’s spot. Everyone of you here, is here because it pulls on a heartstring for some reason, it’s your edge. You’re worried about your grandkids, worried about the birds, your worried about the butterflies, you’re just worried about green energy… No matter how hard you push wind power, its’ not the option for us. The option for clean, sustainable energy, is something that doesn’t go right in the middle of an ecosystem that feeds hundreds of thousands of people in the course of a year… Lets stick together, let’s work together and let’s look at the facts.”

Julie Rabinowitz, Maine People Before Politics “We know that there are environmental impacts; we don’t know exactly what those environmental impacts are… You are the true environmental stewards, you are out there every day, you understand the oceans, you understand the real environment, you’re fighting for your livelihood and the state needs to slow down and make sure we’re not going to do long term damage to the iconic heritage industries of Maine."

Michael Yoe, CEO Lobster 207 “In fishing communities of Maine, there is no backup plan… If you want to grow up here and stay here and live in this beautiful state and build a life for your family, you don’t really have many options… Generations of fishermen have invested in the Gulf of Maine… Make no mistake about it, you are in a fight. And the fight is in your backyard… We do all have to have one common goal… to save the industry that you and generations before you have grown and built. Maine lobstermen and their families and our coastal communities are worth fighting for.”

Monique Coombs, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association “Developing the ocean with incredibly large and astronomically expensive structures does not get us closer to achieving any goals to provide solutions to our climate change emergency. Instead it allows some to continue a lifestyle of overconsumption and abundance, it provides even fewer with a large fortune, and it shutters many family fishing businesses. Businesses like the ones my kids started and are looking forward to working on again this summer. So, I ask of everybody to support Maine fishermen, to choose Maine kids, to eat Maine seafood, and to protect the ocean and our climate by becoming better stewards of the ocean and environment.”

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