Gov. Raimondo looks to further offshore wind, to fishermen's dismay
By: Rebecca Turco
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Governor Gina Raimondo is promising a “greener” Rhode Island with at least 5,000 new jobs by expanding offshore wind initiatives if she’s reelected.
"High-end, high wage jobs - Rhode Island ought to be the Silicon Valley of offshore wind," said Raimondo.
Raimondo eventually wants factories in Rhode Island to manufacture the equipment instead of outsourcing it. She plans to further invest in the state’s ports so they can handle the work on a larger scale.
"It will happen,” she said. “We already have a running start and we have to make sure nobody catches up."
For Spencer Bode, a local commercial fisherman, this is a race he wants no part of. Bode hasn’t been impacted by the five turbines off Block Island, but the dozens more set to be built halfway between the island and Martha’s Vineyard are another story.
"These last couple of weeks of fishing we've been fishing directly in that area - smack dab in the middle," he said.
Bode says when those new turbines go up, only commercial lobstermen will have enough space to fish there. He’s also concerned about what kind of damage the turbines may do to the ocean floor.
Raimondo say she’s working with fishery groups to come up with a plan that works for everyone, but Bode says that won’t help. "The fishery groups that speak out in Rhode Island are not speaking for the little guy," Bode explained.
Raimondo has committed to 40-percent of Rhode Island’s energy coming from renewable resources by 2020. She says the upcoming offshore wind farm puts the state on track to reach that goal.
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