Governor Mills, U.S. Senators Collins & King, and Rep. Pingree Announce Federal Decision to Exclude Critical Maine Fishing Grounds from Commercial Offshore Wind Leasing

At the urging of the Governor and Congressional Delegation, BOEM excludes vital lobster fishing areas from offshore wind energy maps in Gulf of Maine

Governor Janet Mills, U.S Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, and U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree issued the following statement today in response to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)’s release of its final Wind Energy Area (WEA) for the Gulf of Maine, which excludes the entirety of Lobster Management Area (LMA) 1, vital fishing grounds for Maine’s lobster industry.

The decision follows letters from June and November 2023, in which Governor Mills and the Maine Congressional Delegation urged BOEM to remove LMA 1 and other areas from any further consideration for commercial offshore wind leasing and to fully consider the views and concerns of Maine fishing communities while it weighed leasing areas.

“We appreciate that the Bureau has heeded our concerns and the majority of the concerns of Maine’s fishing communities in its final designation of Wind Energy Areas for the Gulf of Maine. This decision preserves vital fishing grounds and seeks to minimize potential environmental and ecological impacts to the Gulf of Maine. We look forward to reviewing the final map in detail and urge the Bureau to continue to engage with Maine’s fishing industry, coastal communities, Tribal governments, and other key maritime users and stakeholders as the commercial leasing process moves forward.”

The Governor and Congressional Delegation have said that clean energy can offer economic and environmental benefits for Maine, if pursued prudently and responsibly with a commitment to minimizing impacts on fishing, recreation, and other crucial ocean uses to the greatest extent possible.

LMA 1 is a critical and highly productive fishing ground for a variety of sea life, including lobster. Prohibiting offshore wind development in LMA 1 helps to avoid the majority of conflict with the New England commercial and recreational fishing industries.

For more information about this decision, and upcoming opportunities for comment, please visit BOEM’s website.