Lawmakers Call for New Offshore Wind Agency
A group of lawmakers is calling on Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to create a new bureau within the Interior Department that will focus specifically on permitting and licensing offshore wind energy projects. The lawmakers fear that wind projects will be significantly delayed if they are permitted through the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — created after Salazar disbanded MMS following the Gulf oil spill — because the bureau will be so focused on reviewing drilling projects.
Offshore wind projects have faced significant hurdles. The Cape Wind project in Massachusetts, which, if constructed, would be the first offshore wind project in the United States, received final approval from the Interior Department in April, after nine years of delay.
In a letter to Salazar today, the lawmakers say:
“[W]e respectfully request that the Department explore the merits of a special office or bureau specifically dedicated to offshore wind and renewables. While BOEMRE is focused on the critical task of transforming itself into a more effective, transparent regulator, the progress the Department has made in promoting offshore wind must continue.”
The letter was signed by: Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine); and Reps. Mike Castle (R-Del.), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.), Kathleen Dahlkemper (D-Penn.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.Y.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).