The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) has sent an official response to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental and Energy Affairs (EEA) regarding the 2014 draft of the Ocean Management Plan (OMP). The 2014 plan is the first update to the original 2009 OMP, which was mandated by the Massachusetts Oceans Act and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008. The OMP was created to protect critical marine wildlife habitat and to set standards for ocean-based development. It must be revised every five years.
Overall the MVC response was positive. It commended the EEA “for being responsive and cooperative in accepting and acting upon the substantial input received from Islanders,” and for “working hard to follow the directive to acquire fresh data.” The MVC is in agreement with the EEA on its “shift in focus on wind energy development to federal waters farther offshore,” but it opposes keeping the 2009 designation that the only two commercial wind energy areas in state waters remain in Dukes County waters. “Given the likely opposition from the towns and the community on Martha’s Vineyard, it is highly unlikely that a developer would be interested in either of these two Wind Energy Areas, therefore the Martha’s Vineyard Commission formally requests that the designation of the Martha’s Vineyard Wind Energy Area be removed from the Ocean Plan.”
The MVC also did not agree with the reduction of the area of high commercial fishing value off the Vineyard’s north shore.
The MVC memo said that the new draft’s proposed offshore sand mining was a polarizing issue. “Oak Bluffs representatives have expressed interest in new sources of sand to replenish beaches while Chilmark representatives have expressed concerns about the potential impacts on environmental resources, and on commercial and recreational fishing.”
The MVC will meet with selectmen, conservation commissioners, and “other stakeholders” at the MVC offices in Oak Bluffs at 5:30 pm, Thursday, November 13, to solicit additional input into the planning process.
Correction: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the meeting is being held at the Katherine Cornell theater.