Central Coast fishermen challenge state over wind energy plans

March 11, 2024


Fishermen from Morro Bay and Port San Luis recently filed a legal challenge against the state’s wind energy plans, arguing the process violates their constitutional right to fish.

In 2022, the federal government auctioned off three offshore wind energy sites located between 20 and 30 miles off the coast near Morro Bay. Then in Dec. 2023, the state issued a permit allowing survey work to begin.

Meanwhile, recent whale and dolphin deaths near the New York and New Jersey shores have prompted an investigation into the sonar noise levels produced by exploratory survey vessels working in ocean areas leased by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, issues that concern the hundreds of Central Coast residents who make a living in the fishing industry.

The California Constitution and the California Coastal Act both prioritize the protection and survival of commercial and recreational fishing. In addition, the public trust doctrine provides the “absolute right of the people to fish.”

Concerned the permitted survey work will harm their industry, the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization and the Port San Luis Commercial Fisherman’s Association filed a lawsuit on Feb. 29 against the California State Lands Commission, the California Coastal Commission, CSA Ocean Sciences (the Florida company tasked with performing the survey), and the three winners of the off-shore wind leases.

“Without the relief prayed for herein, irreparable injury will occur in and to the public trust lands as a result of lack of adequate monitoring, the absence of enforceable, complete, or adequate mitigation, and the erroneous “scientific” assumptions not supported by substantial evidence that the conduct of site surveys will have no effect on commercial fishing activities, through port displacements of fishermen by survey vessels and support activities, and through irreparable injury to the viability of fish stocks and fish breading grounds,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks to protect the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to fish through mitigation of impacts from the off-shore wind farms, including during the site surveys, construction, operation and decommissioning.

The lawsuit asks that the court to revoke the survey permit, not allow any new permits until proper mitigation and protections are provided, for a temporary restraining order and for court costs and legal fees.

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This looks to be another one of California’s grandiose boondoggle projects like Newsom’s Bullet Train fiasco. Billions overbudget and decades behind schedule. The difference is the massive scale & scope of this project that is intended to be placed in a very unforgiving, hostile and corrosive environment. Adding modern nuclear power plants to America’s energy generation portfolio makes far more technical, economic and environmental sense.

Painfully true , but near and far the environmental movement has been hijacked by profiteers whose main goal is wealth creation . Many of the same corporate types that have put “ the people “ last are now moving in this arena. Notice how every solution isn’t about consuming less or working to make life more efficient, but to build big projects with big price tags.

I have to admit that my biggest concern is that if these “Dr Suess” projects start , the rates we will have to pay for energy will be absurd. Your P G and E bill will be 4 or 5 times what it is now to make the “Farms” profitable.

I hope we can join Americans from other states in rejecting these crazy wealth transfers and get control of our political class before they sell us down the river to their donor- friends.

I’m with you 100%, but it’s not just the corporate profiteers. It’s the government agencies who have become absolutely corrupted and single-minded to the point of insanity. It’s the same thinking as pushing electric cars as “green” when the heavy metals needed to run the things are mined by child slaves across the world and battery disposal is an environmental nightmare, and all the rest.

Well said

Unfortunately, the towers are to be built in federal water, leaving the decisions to the feds…and we know that there are $ billions to be made. Who is going to protect our small coastal communities? Not our representatives who are following the money not the protection of those who voted for them…

Forget the Fedsf

Contact every California Congresscritter candidate.

Contact your relatives in other states asking them to conact their Congresscritters.

Get We The People Up In Arms!

Take the focus Off Wind and Solar. They are too costly and building them uses more energy and precious metals than any other type of power generation.

Just go down and take a look at these fisherman’s boats and you will see salt water rust that they have to attend to daily or their boat rots away and that’s what will happen on these wind towers you will spend more for upkeep than you will get out of them. The Coastal Commission won’t let you build much of anything on the coast saying it have the land but yet you put all these towers up in the ocean makes no sense

So true, I worked in the marine industry for 32 years and can’t think of a costlier way to construct and maintain energy producing equipment than offshore deep water. Not to mention the venerability to storm, tsunami, rouge waves, corrosion and wear. Think what the coastline will look like if climate change causes hurricane strength storms to disconnect these behemoths from their moorings and wash thousands of them ashore. Not to mention California will be without electricity.

What I wonder about is their vulnerability to sabotage. Remember the Nord Stream Pipe Line explosion?

Thank you for writing about this. I attended an event in Morro Bay on Saturday where speakers presented an excellent case to oppose the wind turbines along with a proposed battery storage facility, which would effectively turn Moro Bay into a huge, polluting industrial complex. The cost to wildlife, our fishing industry, and the unique character of Morro Bay is far too great to justify very expensive, unreliable, government-subsidized electricity.

I suggest that the wind turbines be placed in DC and not in our oceans. I mean, where else is there so much wasted hot air?