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Offshore Wind

Martha’s Vineyard fishermen drop case against Cape Wind

Local fishermen operating in the waters off Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts have dropped their case against the Cape Wind offshore wind project.

The Martha's Vineyard/Dukes Country Fishermen's Association filed a case against the U.S. Department of Interior in 2010 after it approved the 420-megawatt wind project and granted it a federal lease in Nantucket Sound.

The fishermen had alleged that the project would make navigation in the area risky and effectively bar them from prime fishing grounds, thus affecting their livelihood.

In a statement, Cape Wind announced that the fishermen had entered into a Settlement Agreement with Cape Wind and the two parties have agreed to work together to support sustainable local commercial fisheries and sustainable energy.

"Cape Wind and the Martha's Vineyard Fishermen share the value of sustainability. Offshore clean energy can go hand in hand with a sustainable ocean ecosystem and sustainable fisheries," said Cape Wind president Jim Gordon.

The two parties will work together to make sure that fishing activities continue in the area - particularly in the Horseshoe Shoal. To this end, they will also be establishing a Martha's Vineyard Permit Bank, which would help the fishermen obtain commercial fishing permits in the area.

"We appreciate Cape Wind's commitment to working to find ways to preserve our historic fisheries on Horseshoe Shoal," said fishermen's association president Warren Doty.

In an Associated Press report, Mr. Doty estimated the Permit Bank would need $3 million to get going. Neither his group nor Cape Wind would disclose how much Cape Wind would be contributing to the bank.

Even with this current settlement, Cape Wind still faces litigation from several groups that have filed similar lawsuits. These have led to repeated delays for Cape Wind which plans to start producing power in 2015. – K.R. Jalbuena

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