NORTH BEND — Local fishermen have expressed dismay at a state proposal to set aside multiple areas of Oregon's ocean — including nearly 20 square miles off the coast of Langlois — for potential marine renewable energy development.
The Oregon Department of Land Conservation is preparing to amend the Oregon Territorial Sea Plan to include specific instruction on where and how future marine renewable energy developers can site power buoys. That amendment will include specific areas where marine energy development will be encouraged.
Without such an amendment, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would have authority over where such developments would be placed within Oregon's Territorial Sea, which extends three miles off the state's coastline.
Several Charleston-based fishermen say the current proposed amendment could take away miles of valuable fishing ground, especially the proposed site near Langlois.
'That is the highest value ground down there," Tyler Long, a Charleston-based fisherman, told state representatives at a Thursday night meeting to gather public comment on the proposal. 'The impacts on Charleston, they are obvious."
The other proposed sites are off Gold Beach, Lakeside, Reedsport, Waldport, Newport and Pacific City. The state plans to select several more sites before voting on the amendment.
The state has been gathering data and public comment to draft the proposed amendment for four years, said Paul Klarin, with ODLC. The agency has rated areas of the ocean based on their value for fishing and marine recreation, and as habitat for marine life.
The state will continue gathering public comment on the proposed amendment until early 2013.