On September 20, 2016, a bipartisan group of 20 governors wrote a letter to President Obama expressing concern about the Coast Guard study. And they are right to be concerned; there have been no new permits for offshore wind energy terminals awarded since the study came out in March. Going forward, we will examine how AWO is working with the Coast Guard to ensure the study’s recommendations become official policy for the siting of all future wind energy areas. If successful, that could hobble the growth of offshore wind energy for years to come. From the blog:
Lobbyist was “very engaged” in anti-offshore wind energy study
In 2009, not long after President Obama declared the creation of an offshore wind energy industry a national priority, shipping industry lobbyists began working to block it.
When the U.S. Interior Department began an accelerated leasing process the following year “to facilitate siting, leasing, and construction of new [offshore wind] projects,” lobbyists from the American Waterways Operators (AWO) – an association of tugboat, towboat, and barge companies that derive substantial income from transporting chemicals and petroleum products that also affiliates with some of the largest oil and gas polluters in the world – leveraged a close partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard to push for a study ostensibly designed to safely integrate shipping and offshore wind.
The American Waterways Operators appears to have then used the study to push its anti-offshore wind agenda.
Released earlier this year, the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study (ACPARS) Final Report calls for dramatically limiting space for wind installations on the Outer Continental Shelf and even recommends removing blocks from currently leased areas.
Now, AWO is working with the Coast Guard to ensure the study’s recommendations become official policy for the siting of all future wind energy areas. If successful, that could hobble the growth of offshore wind energy for years to come.
Filed Under: Offshore wind