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Oregon Offshore Wind Proposals Worry Fishing Industry

From her home overlooking Yaquina Bay, Kelley Retherford can watch as commercial fishing boats arrive at the nearby Port of Newport, delivering their catch to one of several seafood processors that line the waterfront.

Saltwater is in her family’s blood, she said. Along with her husband, Mike, and their four adult children, they own and operate four fishing trawlers, harvesting everything from Pacific whiting to pink shrimp to Dungeness crab.

“It’s a way of life,” Retherford said. “We’re not boats on the water. We’re families on the water. We’re families feeding families.”

That way of life, however, may be disrupted by a growing interest in offshore wind generators to help achieve ambitious government-mandated zero-carbon energy goals.

Earlier this year, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management identified two call areas off the southern Oregon Coast — one near Coos Bay and the other near Brookings — to assess potential wind energy leases in federal waters.

Auctions for leases have already been proposed in two areas off the California coast, as the Biden administration aims to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind generators by 2030.

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