Groups Unite Behind Atlantic Offshore Wind Power

Vast, untapped resource good for economy and environment
For Immediate Release

Today, more than 215 environmentalists, clean energy advocates, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic Coast united to call for bold action to accelerate the creation offshore wind power. The coalition released a letter to the Obama Administration in an effort to show strong support for efforts made to date and to urge continued action to develop offshore wind resources along the Atlantic.

“Tapping the vast reserves of wind energy off our coast will reduce pollution and ramp up our clean energy economy,” said David VanLuven, Director of Environment New York.  “This letter shows the broad agreement among a diversity of stakeholders that our state and national leaders should aggressively pursue offshore wind energy.”

The letter notes the need for federal leadership to move away from fossil fuels that threaten our environment, public health, and national security.

While much as been done along the Atlantic Coast, it is critical to build on the momentum of the last year and continue to prioritize environmentally sound development of our offshore wind energy resources.  The coalition calls on the Obama Administration to:

  • Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development;
  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind in the Atlantic;
  • Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed, and operated responsibly;
  • Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources; and
  • Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power.

“We stand together and ready to work with the Obama Administration and state officials to advance offshore wind as part of a comprehensive plan to put New York and America on a path to a truly clean energy future,” concluded VanLuven.


LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA:

July 24, 2012

Dear President Obama:

As environmentalists, conservationists, clean energy advocates, and local and state officials representing hundreds of thousands of members and activists along the Atlantic coast, we urge you to continue to champion the swift development of our offshore wind energy resources. We are encouraged by the Administration’s efforts to date to advance offshore wind development in the Atlantic Ocean in an environmentally responsible manner. For the sake of our environment and the prospects of a vibrant clean energy economy in America, we must have numerous wind farms spinning off our shores within the next few years – and we need your continued leadership to make that vision a reality.

Federal leadership is critically needed to spur a transition away from fossil fuels that threaten our environment, public health, and national security. Vast, untapped offshore wind energy resources along the Atlantic coast can play an increasingly important role in powering our homes, businesses, and vehicles while reducing pollution, creating good-paying jobs, and moving our states and our nation toward energy independence. 

As Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Salazar has repeatedly said, the immense energy generation potential of the Atlantic Ocean exceeds the amount of energy we produce every year in this country. Along the Atlantic coast alone, reaching the Department of Energy’s (DOE) conservative goal of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power would reduce carbon pollution by the equivalent of taking roughly 18 million cars off the road.  For nearly every Atlantic coast state, offshore wind represents one of our best strategies to generate significant amounts of energy without creating more pollution. We can no longer afford to ignore this massive domestic energy source that has been producing thousands of jobs and megawatts of clean energy in Europe for over a decade.

Over the past year, many important steps have been taken to harness America’s offshore wind resources. With DOI’s “Smart from the Start” initiative, appropriate areas for wind development have been identified in federal waters off the coast of six Atlantic states – Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Additionally, DOI is beginning this process for North Carolina and South Carolina and is reviewing applications for a utility-scale project in federal waters off New York and a demonstration project in Maine. DOI must continue to move this process forward swiftly and efficiently so that industry can begin assessing potential development sites and collecting the data needed to design construction and operations plans for offshore wind energy projects.

We are calling on you and state leaders to work in partnership to build on this momentum and continue to prioritize the orderly, environmentally sound development of our offshore wind energy resources. It is critical that leases be granted to developers by the end of this year and actions be taken at the federal, regional, or state levels to secure necessary public or private power purchase commitments. 

Specifically, we ask the Obama Administration to:

  • Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development until this new technology is mature and well established. Offshore wind energy needs a long-term extension of its Investment Tax Credit, continued DOE support for research and development, and investments in data collection for better permitting.
  • Set a bold goal for offshore wind development in the Atlantic, in order to provide clear leadership and vision regarding the important role of offshore wind in America’s energy future and demonstrate that this is a high priority for the Administration.
  • Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed and operated responsibly in order to avoid, minimize, and mitigate conflict with local marine life and other uses. Wind energy development should be coordinated with state and regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts and be done in a manner that is consistent with the goals of your historic National Ocean Policy. Permitting must also take into account the benefits to the environment from the proposed project.
  • Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources to manage the learning curve required to handle multiple renewable energy leases along the coast, in order to prevent disruption of current efforts to promote an efficient leasing process, and avoid subsequent impairment of needed financing and power off-take agreements.
  • Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power, including convening coordination among the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce and state and regional economic development, energy, and commerce agencies to identify incentives and develop commitments to purchase offshore wind power.  

We stand ready to work with you and your Administration to advance offshore wind and help put America on a path to a truly clean energy future. Thank you for your support and leadership.

Signed,

National/Regional
Environment America
National Wildlife Federation
Southern Environmental Law Center
Conservation Law Foundation
Natural Resources Defense Council
Oceana
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Chesapeake Climate Action Network
Southeastern Coastal Wind Coalition
Earth Day Network
US Offshore Wind Collaborative
Environment Northeast
Offshore Wind Development Coalition
The Sierra Club
Clean Energy States Alliance
Greenpeace
Citizen Partnerships for Offshore Wind
Appalachian Voices
Atlantic Wind Connection
Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light
League of Conservation Voters
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Deepwater Wind
Apex Offshore Wind, LLC

Maine
Environment Maine
Natural Resources Council of Maine
Dr. Habib J. Dagher, Director, Advanced Structures and Composites Center,
University of Maine

New Hampshire
Environment New Hampshire

Massachusetts
Environment Massachusetts
Mass Audubon
Environmental League of Massachusetts
Mass Climate Action Network
HealthLink
Health Care Without Harm Boston
Cape Wind

Rhode Island
Environment Rhode Island
Rhode Island Chapter of the Sierra Club
Clean Water Action of Rhode Island
Rhode Island Surf Rider
Environment Council of Rhode Island
Apeiron Institute for Sustainable Living
People’s Power and Light Rhode Island
Senator William Walaska, Deputy Majority Whip (D – District 30)
Senator David Bates, Minority Whip (R – District 32)
Representative John Edwards, Deputy Majority Leader (D – District 70)
Representative Arthur Handy, Chair of House Environment & Natural Resources Committee (D – District 18)
Representative Teresa Tanzi (D – District 34)
Senator Louis DiPalma (D – District 12)
Senator Joshua Miller (D - District 28)

Connecticut
Environment Connecticut
Connecticut Forest and Park Association
Clean Water Action of CT
CT Chapter of the Sierra Club
CT Marine Trades Association
Senator Paul Doyle, Majority Whip (D – District 9)
Senator Edward Meyer, Assistant Majority Leader & Chair of Environment Committee (D – District 12)
Senator Gary LeBeau, Deputy President Pro Tempore (D – District 3)
Representative Richard Roy (D – District 119)
Mayor John DeStefano (D - New Haven, CT)

New York
Environment New York
Environmental Advocates of New York
The Oblong Land Conservancy
Renewable Energy Long Island
WESPAC Foundation
The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition
Chenango Clean Energy Service Corps
Citizens’ Environmental Coalition
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
NY League of Conservation Voters
Alliance for Clean Energy New York
New York Interfaith Power and Light
Sustainable Tompkins
Solar One
Mercury Poisoning Project
NYU Global Greening Initiative
Arthur H. Kopelman, Ph. D., SUNY Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of Science, FIT     Department of Science and Mathematics
Stephen O. Wilson, former Executive Director, now Emeritus Hudson River Environmental     Society
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, Assistant Speaker (D – District 42)
Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera (D – District 80)
Assemblyman Alan Maisel (D – District 59)
Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal (D - District 67)
Councilwoman Letitia James (D – New York City)

New Jersey
Environment New Jersey
GreenFaith
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Business Council for Clean Energy
New Jersey Work Environment Council
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Raritan Headwaters Association
Genesis Farm
Grandmothers Mothers and More for Energy Safety
Delaware Riverkeeper Network
ClimateMama
350.org, NJ
New Jersey Environmental Federation
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissioners
NJ Environmental Lobby
Blue Wave NJ
Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senate Majority Leader (D – District 37)
Senator Linda Greenstein, Assistant Majority Leader & Environment and Energy Committee     Vice-Chair (D – District 14)
Assemblyman Thomas Giblin, Deputy Majority Leader (D- District 34)
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, Deputy Speaker (D – District 38)
Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Deputy Speaker (D – District 17)
Assemblyman Peter Barnes, Majority Whip (D – District 18)
Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, Deputy Majority Whip (D – District 33)
Senator Bob Smith, Environment and Energy Committee Chair (D – District 17)
Assemblywoman Marlene Caride (D- District 36)
Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (D – District 27)
Deputy Mayor Scott Olson (Byram Township)
Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D – District 14)
Gray Russel, Office of Environmental Affairs – Environmental Coordinator (Township of Montclair)

Delaware
Delaware Nature Society
DE Chapter of the Sierra Club
Representative John Kowalko, Chair House Energy Committee (D – District 25)

Maryland
Environment Maryland
Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry for Maryland
League of Women Voters of Maryland
Assateague Coastal Trust/COASTKEEPER
Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club
Chesapeake Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
Queen Anne’s Conservation Association
Food and Water Watch
Friends of Harford
Maryland League of Conservation Voters
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
Friends of the Nanticoke River
Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Home Energy Loss Professionals
Amicus Green Building Center, LLC
Aqua Well Drilling, LLC
Ecobeco, LLC
National Aquarium
Green Homes Blue Sky, LLC
Brennan + Company Architects
Councilman George Leventhal (D – Montgomery County)

Virginia
Environment Virginia
Virginia Conservation Network
Virginia Interfaith Power and Light
Virginia League of Conservation Voters
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Association of Energy Conservation Professionals
Wild Virginia
Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
Congressman Jim Moran (D – District 8)
Senator Thomas Norment, Majority Leader (R – District 3)
Delegate David Toscano, Minority Leader (D – District 57)
Delegate Mark Sickles, Minority Caucus Chairman (D- District 43)
Delegate David Englin, Vice Chair Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee        (D – District 45)
Delegate Robert Brink (D – District 48)
Delegate Scott Surovell (D – District 44)
Senator Janet Howell (D – District 32)
Delegate Ken Plum (D – District 36)
Delegate Vivian Watts (D – District 39)
Delegate Luke Torian (D – District 52)
Delegate David Bulova (D – District 37)
Councilmember Rob Krupicka (D - City of Alexandria)

North Carolina
Environment North Carolina
NC Wildlife Federation
NC Interfaith Power and Light
North Carolina Conservation Network
North Carolina League of Conservation Voters
Clean Air Carolina
North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club
Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce
Beach Home Inspections
Windward Homes
Island Thyme Cooking Co
With a Twist Inc
Whalebone Surf Shop
Brilliant Weddings and Design
BN Design
OneBoat Outer Banks and Cameron House Inn
brynn&amie Good Karma Foods
Aussie Island Surf Shop
Ashtanga Yoga
Transition Carrboro/Chapel Hill
17th St Surf Shop
Coastal Edge
Beach Music and PA
Outer Banks Brewing Station
Representative Rick Glazier, Minority Whip  (D – District 45)
Representative Patsy Keever (D – District 115)
Representative Susan Fisher (D – District 114)
Representative Charles Graham (D – District 47)
Representative Jennifer Weiss (D – District 35)
Representative Rodney Moore (D – District 99)
Representative Martha Alexander (D – District 106)
Representative Pricey Harrison (D – District 57)
Representative Angela Bryant (D – District 7)
Representative Alma Adams (D – District 58)
Representative Phillip Haire (D – District 119)
Representative Marvin Lucas (D – District 42)
Representative Marian McLawhorn (District 9)
Representative Tricia Cotham (D – District 100)
Representative Susi Hamilton (D – District 18)
Representative Maggie Jeffus (D – District 59)
Mayor David Cignotti (Wrightsville Beach)
City Councilman Kevin O'Grady (Wilmington)

South Carolina
SC Wildlife Federation
SC Coastal Conservation League

Georgia
Environment Georgia
Center for a Sustainable Coast
Ogeechee Riverkeeper
Coastal Chapter of the Georgia Sierra Club
Councilman Paul Wolff  (Tybee Island)

Florida
Environment Florida
Florida Wildlife Federation
Sunshine State IPL
Florida Conservation Alliance

Alabama
Cahaba Riverkeeper
Greater Birmingham Alliance to Stop Pollution

Illinois
Citizens' Greener Evanston
Environment Illinois

Pennsylvania
Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future
PennEnvironment

Vermont
Vermont Natural Resources Council

Cc: Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar
Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu
NOAA Administrator, Jane Lubchenco
FERC chairman, Jon Wellinghoff
EPA Administrator, Lisa P. Jackson
BOEM Director, Tommy Beaudreau
Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta
Acting Secretary of Commerce, Rebecca Blank