Congressman opposes offshore wind: My view and the importance of your voice

By: Liz Burdock

As some of you may have read, Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced an amendment prohibiting federal funds made available through the U.S. Dept. of Interior (DOI) Appropriations budget being used to conduct reviews of site assessment or construction and operation plans for any project that would entail the construction or location of wind turbines less than 24 nautical miles from Maryland’s shoreline. The bill at issue is for the next fiscal year, which begins in October, and funds the U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM), an agency funded through DOI.

I am sharing my perspective to help clarify questions or concerns you may have after reading media stories. As the Executive Director of the Business Network for Offshore Wind, I follow U.S. offshore wind developments everyday. This amendment by Congressman Harris was not a surprise.

A couple of things I told Network members in an email last Tuesday night when the amendment passed the subcommittee included the fact that this is NOT a Trump Administration proposal or effort. It is, plain and simple, a local effort possibly spearheaded by Ocean City to eliminate the view of red blinking lights from the shore and alleviate their concerns over decreasing tourism and property values.  Ocean City officials have effectively used their Congressional representative to make their concerns known.

While the U.S. House of Representative Interior Appropriations subcommittees approved the amendment, this is a first and early step in a very long legislative process and it is highly unlikely that it would ultimately be signed into law. House Republicans have indicated the underlying spending bill may never make it to a vote in its current form due to disagreements within the GOP. Republican leaders will likely have to negotiate with Democrats to fund the government.  If Harris’ amendment is approved in the House, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)—a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee—would oppose it and lead a group of bipartisan senators to remove the language. Democrats have more sway over the appropriations process in the Senate, where Republicans will need 60 votes to fund government agencies.

 The Business Network is following this and all developments closely.   As offshore wind moves from theory to reality in the United States, I can promise there will be many more local, state and federal obstacles and disputes to overcome. Unfortunately, this will not be the last.   However, we cannot stop or fight these issues without your support. There is strength in working together and presenting a unified offshore wind supply chain. If you want to see a US offshore wind industry grow and create opportunities for your business to benefit then you need to take a stand. Join the Network today. With your help we can:

  • Push back against policies and regulations that are harmful to the U.S. OSW industry
  • Make the supply chain voices heard on this issue to policymakers at all levels—effectively using our ability to make our concerns known
  • Educate both the public and decision makers about the facts re: view shed, tourism and property values along with the benefits of OSW.

If you want the industry to succeed in the U.S., get information and analysis on the US Offshore Wind market, meet all the key industry stakeholders and be seen as a leader committed to the industry, join our membership today.

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