A delegation of Island officials met with a task force evaluating commercial wind projects in federal waters on November 19. The task force is working under the authority of the United State Minerals Management Service (MMS), the federal agency that permits wind power projects in federal waters, which extend from 3 to 200 miles offshore.
The Island group represented by selectmen from all six towns, as well as public officials from the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, Dukes County, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head met with the task force at the Massachusetts Maritime academy in Buzzards Bay. “I think it was valuable to go and express ourselves, which we certainly did,” Richard Knabel, West Tisbury selectman, said. “A number of us came away saying these decisions have already been made.”
He thinks MMS will issue a “request for interest” in January 2010, calling for developers to signal whether they want to develop wind power projects in federal waters.
Oak Bluffs selectman Kathy Burton said it was not clear what role the task force will play in siting wind projects. “At least they were respectful and interested and listened to what the group had to say,” Ms. Burton said. “I almost felt the [task force] wasn’t clear about what their role will be.”