Biden Administration Approves Nation’s First Major Offshore Wind Farm

Many Republicans are skeptical of Mr. Biden’s job creation claims and say the president’s plans — particularly his suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters — are already hurting union workers in fossil fuel industries. “The Biden administration is pushing expensive fantasy jobs, and killing real ones at a time that America cannot afford to lose these jobs,” Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy Committee, said Tuesday.

Offshore wind, which is booming in Europe, is a nascent industry in the United States. But several Atlantic Coast states, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia, have committed to buying more than 25,000 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2035, according to the American Clean Power Association.

That alarms the fishing industry, which is worried boats and trawlers will have difficulty navigating around the hulking turbines, the largest of which now have rotor diameters the length of two football fields. That could limit the amount of seafood they can catch, potentially affecting millions of dollars in revenue.

“For the past decade, fishermen have participated in offshore wind meetings whenever they were asked and produced reasonable requests, only to be met with silence,” says Anne Hawkins, executive director of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, a coalition of fishing groups. “From this silence now emerges unilateral action and a clear indication that those in authority care more about multinational businesses and energy politics than our environment, domestic food sources, or U.S. citizens.”

Amanda Lefton, the director of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that the agency would continue to seek input from fishing groups as the project moves forward. “We are considering those impacts and considering members of the fishing community in that process,” she said. “We can ensure that we have the best science to help address some of the concerns that are out there.”

Brad Plumer contributed reporting.