Imagine fishermen navigating around a million-acre maze of offshore wind farms, floating and linked by underwater cables, occupying a large swath of the Gulf of Maine.

That’s the vision President Joe Biden and other top Democrats have for the future of a large chunk of northern New England’s corner of the Atlantic Ocean.

Not so fast, says former New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse, one of two Republicans angling for their party’s gubernatorial nomination.

On Monday, Morse met with members of the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association (NEFSA) and about a dozen activists outside the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service’s Portsmouth office, where a public meeting on offshore wind leasing areas was scheduled to take place.

The hearing was canceled, but Morse and other activists still had a message to deliver.

“I’m here for one reason and that’s so you can be heard,” Morse said. “I made phone calls to the State House last week when the meeting was canceled and said this is ridiculous.”

Morse said a special public comment period and meeting has been rescheduled for June 3 and will be hosted by the New Hampshire Senate. Morse noted that he worked with former colleague and current Senate President Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) to schedule the meeting.

The proposed offshore wind project is massive. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) claims the project would produce enough electricity to power 5 million homes in New England.

However, projections for previous offshore wind projects have been wildly off the mark, both on the cost and the supply side. The Massachusetts Cape Wind project, with a $2.5 billion price tag, fell apart before it ever got started, but it still cost the state millions. Even if it has been built, the original projection was electricity at twice the market price.

New York has agreed to a price of $150.15 per megawatt hour from offshore wind to help subsidize massive wind projects. As City Journal reports, the cost is “already three to four times higher than New York’s average wholesale-market prices.”

Developers of the large wind projects are asking for an additional $38 billion from ratepayers,” it reports.

Meanwhile, opponents like Jerry Leeman, who founded NEFSA to support wild harvest fishermen, argue that the turbines would decimate haddock stocks. He cited studies he said show how electrical currents deform entire populations of lobster and even raise ocean surface temperatures.

BOEM is currently holding a public comment period for various stakeholders that’s set to expire on July 1. A list of open house meetings is available online.

Morse criticized the federal project which he said is “putting the cart before the horse.”

“They’re going to put portable windmills into the ocean and daisy-chain them together,” he said. “They’re basically trying to beat some time period without listening to you.

“I can’t understand the federal government trying to jump into New Hampshire. The president (Biden) is coming tomorrow, do you think he’s coming to the seacoast to listen to you? I’m willing to be with you at any event you want me to be at so you can be heard.”

Biden’s New Hampshire visit includes stops on Tuesday in Nashua and Merrimack.

“When voters see how much the electricity will cost them coming out of these portable windmills, they’ll be with you every time,” Morse added.

Offshore wind could be one of the rare areas where Morse and the Republican governor he wants to replace may disagree.

Outgoing GOP Gov. Chris Sununu has been receptive to offshore wind proposals. In 2019, he signed an executive order creating various advisory boards tasked with preparing for the possibility of offshore wind. He said at the time that New Hampshire “recognizes the tremendous potential that offshore wind power has to offer.”

“Who would want this going on off our shores and contaminating our oceans?” Morse said. “There are people that don’t understand that this will make electricity cost double what it does today.”

Leeman said the proposed leasing auction of eight zones in the Gulf of Maine represents “a big push from foreign industries coming to take over the natural resources belonging to the American people.”

“This isn’t even a political issue,” he said. “This is a right-versus-wrong issue.”

Nancy Kindler, an activist from Stratham, told NHJournal she grew up on the Maine coast and praised Morse for his work.

“Chuck Morse was Senate president for many years, and there’s not too much that he has believed in and thought to be good and worth fighting for that he hasn’t given it everything he’s got,” she said. “He’s truly a caring and passionate person.

“He puts action behind his words.”

Denise Katz, another Stratham resident, said she used to buy fresh seafood “right off the dock” in Portland and Rye.

“You can’t do that now,” she said, adding that almost all of the seafood she sees being sold in grocery stores and in restaurants is imported from other countries.

Morse told NHJournal the project is a “sped-up effort” so that the federal government “can put its foot in the ground,” and added that the rush to auction off the leasing zones ahead of the 2024 presidential election “so that the next president can’t deal with it.”

“You’re going to have the opportunity at the state Senate on June 3, so don’t let me down,” Morse later said to the group. “You all need to be there for that.”