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Biden Administration Nixes Hamptons Offshore Wind Sites Near Beaches, Fishing Grounds

Matt Young

The Biden administration announced that it will not lease two offshore wind areas off the Hamptons. The leasing areas were controversial to eastern Long Island residents and the commercial fishing industry.

The Fairways North and Fairways South sites were planned just 15 miles off the coast.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman says the 800-foot-tall turbines would be a visual eyesore for public and private Hamptons beachgoers — which the state of New York relies on for billions in tourism dollars.

“I believe in [offshore wind],” Schneiderman said, “just site it further out. There's no reason why they can't go deeper, into deeper waters, you know, manage the visual impact.”

And 1,700 members of the fishing industry sent a letter to the Biden administration to say the construction and the operation of the turbines would starve them of prime fishing grounds. Bonnie Brady with Long Island Commercial Fishing Association has sent these letters before.

“Let's face it,” she said. “I've been fighting on this issue for fishermen to get a true seat at the table, not be served for lunch, for 20 years.”

Then, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) dropped the Fairways from consideration last week during a stakeholders meeting with state officials. Gregory Lampman is with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

“We requested BOEM advance no new lease areas closer than 18 miles from shore. So for multiple reasons, these are conflicted. But additionally, they are relatively small in scale and could become economically infeasible,” Lampman said.

Fairway North was the second largest of the five major sites planned for off Long Island approved by BOEM last month. It takes a gigawatt of electricity off the table, enough to power nearly 374,000 homes.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.