A group of lawmakers is urging the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to hold new lease auctions in the New York Bight
On 12 February 2021, US Representatives Kathleen Rice (NY-04) and Bill Pascrell Jr (NJ-09) sent a bipartisan letter supported by members of the New York and New Jersey congressional delegations to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) requesting that the agency designate final wind energy areas (WEAs) in the New York Bight and hold new lease auctions for potential developers.
Representative Rice and Pascrell’s letter renews calls for action by BOEM in a New York delegation letter that Representative Rice led in August 2020. BOEM was scheduled to announce WEAs in early 2019.
However, the Trump Administration did not adhere to this timeline, and two years later, final designations still have not been made.
Final WEA designations must be issued by BOEM prior to lease auctions in order for developers to bid on the right to apply for federal permits to construct wind projects in these areas.
The letter was also signed by US Representatives Frank Pallone Jr (NJ-06), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Yvette D Clarke (NY-09), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Tom Reed (NY-23), Donald Payne Jr (NJ-10), Grace Meng (NY-06), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Thomas Suozzi (NY-03), Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15).
“As a leader in the fight against climate change, New York State has legally committed to generating 9.0 GW of offshore wind by 2035,” said Representative Rice. “But there is no way that New York, New Jersey, or any other state can meet ambitious goals unless the federal government issues new wind energy area designations. I am confident that the Biden Administration will heed our call for action and follow through on its promise to prioritise offshore wind.”
“Growing America’s offshore wind industry is a vital path to reducing our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and modernising America’s infrastructure for future generations. Right now under Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey is leading the way in expanding clean energy, especially for offshore wind,” said Representative Pascrell Jr.
“I look forward to working with President Joe Biden’s administration to build on his offshore wind commitments that will support jobs and fight the negative impacts of climate change.”
The Biden Administration has already taken positive steps related to offshore wind. On 27 January 2021, President Biden signed an executive order directing the Interior secretary to identify steps to double offshore wind production by 2030.
Several individuals and groups made statements in support of Representative Rice and Pascrell’s efforts, including New York Senator Todd Kaminsky, New York Offshore Wind Alliance, New York League of Conservation Voters, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Climate Jobs NY, Long Island Association, and National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA).
“Harnessing the power of wind energy is integral to revitalising our economy, creating good jobs and transitioning our grid to green, renewable resources,” said New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky (9th District). “Representative Rice’s push to jump-start the offshore wind leasing process is vital to our efforts to help our state achieve its ambitious wind power goals.”
New York Offshore Wind Alliance director Joe Martens said, “The New York Offshore Wind Alliance deeply appreciates the effort of Congresswoman Rice and members of the New York and New Jersey delegations to ensure that BOEM completes the process for designating new wind energy areas in the New York Bight.
“Designation and subsequent leasing of new wind energy means family wage jobs, upgrades and investments in the region’s ports, reduced pollution and greenhouse gases and billions of dollars in new investments. Without new lease areas off the New York and New Jersey coastline, neither state will be able to meet their aggressive renewable energy and climate goals.”
National Ocean Industries Association president Erik Milito said, “The US needs a post-Covid-19 economic recovery and holding an offshore wind lease sale in the New York Bight is a significant step towards a tremendous energy and economic opportunity.
“It has been more than two years since the most recent offshore wind lease auction. BOEM should issue the final WEA and hold lease auctions in the New York Bight as quickly as possible. NOIA thanks Representatives Rice and Pascrell and the other signatories for their leadership in advancing new wind opportunities for our nation.”