Legislation that could have criminalised companies in the US energy sector whose activity inadvertently led to the death of migratory birds despite the mitigation measures they have long employed, has been modified to eliminate a potential threat to the offshore wind industry in the US
Offshore industry representatives said the bill, HR 5552, would have re-established regulatory uncertainty and the threat of unfounded litigation. They said the ‘regulatory rollback’ the bill envisioned would have opened the door to ‘massive penalties’ and ‘could have deterred project financing for the development of the US offshore wind industry.’
National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito issued the following statement after the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued a proposed rule to codify the US Department of Interior’s interpretation of take under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
“Today’s proposed clarification is welcome news for safe and responsible energy development. The new FWS guidance prevents the unnecessary criminalisation of passive takes that we have seen impede critical projects, including wind energy development.
“The proposed change echoes the findings of the Fifth, Eighth and Ninth Circuits, reinforces the intent of MBTA and reduces the ability of unfounded litigation to deter project financing for vital projects, including the development of the US offshore wind industry.
“The offshore energy industry will continue to employ robust mitigation measures and remains dedicated to innovating new solutions and systems to protect birds and other wildlife. Our industry prides itself on being a strong environmental steward, and nothing in the proposed update impacts that mission.”
Riviera’s Offshore Wind Journal Conference will explore the opportunities available in the sector on a regional basis, review the latest industry trends and drivers and the technology advances enabling the move to deeper waters on 4 February 2020 in London. Book your ticket now