The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says it’s not yet prepared to rule on a pending Environmental Impact Statement.
The move may delay onshore construction of Vineyard Wind’s 84-turbine wind farm. The company planned to begin work before the end of this year to take advantage of a federal tax credit that is set to expire in 2019.
The announcement from BOEM may put the project’s timeline and the developer’s $600 million tax credit in flux. In a statement, Vineyard Wind said the schedule changes were anticipated and it will work with federal officials while they conduct their review.
The project has been seven years in the making, during which time it's been a tangle between the company, federal regulators, and fishermen who are concerned about the effects of wind farms on their livelihoods. Despite industry efforts to address the economic impact, the maritime industry says its concerns are far from settled.
“This is going to affect every fisherman and fishes around these windmills,” says Ken Schneider, a 40-year veteran of the waters off southern New England. “These crabs, these lobsters, seismic activity bothers them I believe and it's not benefiting any one of us except a foreign company.”
A spokesperson for Vineyard Wind has said the company is doing what it can to address the fishermen's requests.