Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Thursday, April 25 @ 10:35 a.m. / Ocean, Oregon

Brookings City Council Reiterates Its Opposition to Offshore Wind Turbines

BOEM has designated two wind energy areas off the Southern Oregon Coast, including 133,808 acres between Brookings and Gold Beach. | Courtesy of BOEM.


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Brookings Mayor Isaac Hodges accused the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management of a “flippant lack of respect toward U.S. citizens” before he and his colleagues voted to oppose offshore wind energy development in their aquatic backyard.

Monday’s resolution was the second the Brookings City Council approved since BOEM identified two areas off the coast of Curry and Coos counties for potential offshore wind energy production last autumn.

The resolution comes after several local tribes, including the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI), have raised concerns about the impact floating wind turbines would have on their citizens.

“I believe the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has willfully neglected to take into consideration the concerns of those most affected by their windmill energy proposal,” said Hodges, who read from statements CTLUSI and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation issued in February and March. “In addition, I believe BOEM is acting as an officious bully looking to impose its dishonest will on the people of our region.”

Brookings’ resolution mentions the Outdoor Recreation Act of 1963 — something Councilor Clayton Malmberg appreciated. According to Malmberg, Curry County has referred to the federal law in its correspondence with BOEM.

“That act requires there be a coordinated effort with city, local and county municipalities on anything that affects recreational areas,” Malmberg said. “We have a lot of tourists that come here to see our pristine coastline and they’re going to look out and they’re going ot see windmills 13-and-a-half miles offshore. It’s a big impact to our tourism, it’s a big impact to our recreational fisheries as well as commercial interests.”

BOEM has identified two final Wind Energy Areas (WEA) off the Oregon Coast, one roughly 18 miles off Brookings and Gold Beach and the other about 32 miles offshore from Coos Bay. The Coos Bay WEA is about 61,204 acres while the Brookings WEA is 133,808 acres. If fully developed, both could support 2.4 gigawatts of energy production, according to BOEM.

In February, BOEM stated it was going to prepare an environmental assessment analyzing the potential impacts of wind energy production off the Oregon coast. That initiated a 30-day public comment period that ended on March 15.

The Brookings City Council began discussing potential offshore wind energy impacts in June 2022 when it voted on a resolution asking BOEM to work with local governments as well as other stakeholders, according to Interim City Manager Kelby McCrae.

In October, councilors voted on their first resolution opposing offshore wind energy development and sent a letter to BOEM outlining their concerns.

Along with the resolution on Monday, councilors approved a letter to be sent to Jean Thurston-Keller, a BOEM renewable energy specialist and Oregon Taskforce coordinator. In that letter, councilors state they’re concerned about the rushed process and the agency’s lack of communication.

“We are not in support of ‘pushing’ this forward,” the Brookings City Council states. “We have heard from our community and others along the Oregon Coast and they deserve to be heard by the Federal government as well.”

On Monday, Council President Andy Martin said potential offshore wind energy projects in Oregon were discussed at Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings in Fresno and Seattle. According to Martin, the PFMC directed the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare an environmental assessment focusing on cables that will come onshore and the impact they could have on fisheries.

“There was a lot of comments about the impact to the Port of Brookings areas used for sport or commercial fishermen,” he said. “The Council, because it’s a federal agency, doesn’t really take a position, but it can issue a pretty strong environmental impact statement that could delay or even reverse the leases. Hopefully that will have an impact, but I think it’s important the city go on record to oppose this.”

Hodges read from press releases the CTCLUSI and the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation issued in February.

In a statement issued Feb. 13, Brad Kneaper, CTCLUSI’s tribal chairman, accused BOEM of waiting until the eleventh hour to inform the tribe about its decision finalize Oregon’s Wind Energy Areas. The tribe states that the 195,012 acres designated for wind energy development are within its ancestral territory, are important for tribal fishing and are of cultural and historical significance to the tribe.

“BOEM has failed to recognize that wind development has impacted the Tribe and has failed to assure that wind energy development will do good and not harm the tribe, its members and the greater coastal community,” Kneaper said. “The Tribe will not stand by while a project is developed that does more harm than good — this is simply green colonialism.”

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Tribal Council approved a resolution in November urging BOEM to halt scoping and permitting for offshore wind energy projects. In a news release in March, the TDN stated offshore wind energy development lacks tribal involvement and research.

“The Federal government has a legal obligation to consult with Tribal Nations on any activities that may affect their lands and resources,” the TDN stated. “We ask the administration to incorporate the essential value of tribal co-stewardship, co-decision-making and co-management of traditional tribal lands and waters.”

On Monday, Hodges pointed out that Oregon fishermen, boards of commissioners for Curry and Coos County and other local stakeholders vehemently opposed offshore wind energy production, but remain “discounted and even disparaged by BOEM.”

“Many will say this decision is all but final,” Hodges said. “Maybe that’s right. But if nothing else we still have a voice and we need to continue to make our voices heard. We have regional, state and federal representatives that need to hear from each of us and [we] need a message from them to take a firm and public stance against this project.”

Before launching into the discussion, Oregon resident Thena Lyons said a group of volunteers from Douglas, Coos and Curry counties opposing offshore wind energy production have been holding rallies to voice their concerns.

A rally will take place at the Curry County Courthouse in Gold Beach at noon Saturday, she said. Another rally will be held from 2 p.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday near Grocery Outlet in Brookings.

Meanwhile, Lyons announced that Greg Stelmach, a post doctoral scholar with an emphasis on marine energy at Oregon State University, would hold an informal question-answer period at the Bell & Whistle Coffee House at the Port of Brookings-Harbor at noon Friday.

Lyons said Stelmach is hoping to find out what coastal residents think about the potential wind energy developments.


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