The Obama administration on Thursday, 2/2/2012 moved forward with plans to develop the enormous Mid-Atlantic offshore wind farms for developing wind energy resources, using the new approach that has the potential to expedite the process while incorporating strong environmental protections, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The administration released plans for developing waters off New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Offshore wind power could create thousands of jobs and generate power for millions of homes in the region.
Specifically, the Department of Interior approved “wind energy areas” off the coasts of these states where projects can move through the regulatory approval process more quickly, as well as model lease language and environmental review documents for the initial site assessment process, which is the first step in developing an offshore wind project.
The smart-from-the-start approach means taking into account the need to protect ocean ecosystems, wildlife and existing human uses in order to site things where they make the most sense. This is the kind of progress anticipated to increase as the administration implements the National Ocean Policy created by the President in 2010.
The following is a statement from Kit Kennedy, Clean Energy Counsel at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Harnessing the wind blowing off our shores will allow us to power American homes with clean, domestic energy – and create tens of thousands of badly-needed jobs in the process. By developing these resources in a way that’s smart from the start, the administration can give this budding industry the boost it needs to start delivering the economic, health and environmental benefits it promises. It’s time to capture this untapped potential and for the offshore wind industry to take flight in the Mid-Atlantic.
“NRDC will be carefully reviewing the documents released by federal authorities today to ensure that appropriate environmental protections and mitigation measures have been incorporated and will continue to advocate for smart siting of offshore wind projects.”
This is a step forward in clean energy development for the US, as other options like more drilling and fracking, the Keystone Pipeline are just a continuation of our centuries old dependency on oil and gas. With the Obama Administrations plans for the smart-from-the-start gigantic Mid-Atlantic offshore wind farms, at least we do know that the current administration is moving forward with a clean energy policy, unlike the Republican counterparts who seem to be doing everything in their power to demonize clean energy, climate change science, clean air, clean water, the EPA, among other things.
This is refreshing, and we can be sure to look forward to more of the same using smart-from-the-start from the National Ocean Policy that Obama created in 2010, and hopefully more clean domestic energy as well! Peace my friends!