Advancing Offshore Wind Production Act (H.R. 2173)
Status: Passed in Committee on July 13, 2011 with a bipartisan vote of 24 to 18. Placed on the House Calendar.
June 14, 2011 -
The Advancing Offshore Wind Production Act will speed the production of clean, renewable American energy by streamlining the process for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop offshore wind power.
Renewable energy production is an important part of House Republicans’ all-of-the-above energy approach that will help create American jobs and protect the environment.
Unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and duplicative regulatory requirements are slowing the development of offshore wind power. For example, it can take years for a project to complete the environmental work required to set up a temporary tower to simply test the wind levels at a specific location within a leased area. This is in addition to the environmental impact studies that are completed before a lease is issued and before permanent windmills are installed.
In order to encourage the timely, efficient development of our offshore wind energy resources, this bill sets a firm timeline for issuing permits and streamlines regulatory requirements for installing temporary infrastructure, such as towers or buoys, to test and monitor weather. This infrastructure, which is used to determine the best spot to put offshore windmills, is often smaller than the size of a large anchored sailboat. Requiring burdensome, duplicative reviews for temporary structures that have negligible impact is unnecessary and dramatically impedes production of clean, renewable wind power.
Specifically, the Advancing Offshore Wind Production Act:
Sets a 30 day timeline for the Secretary of the Interior to act on permits for all weather testing and monitoring projects in the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
Streamlines the environmental review process needed to place temporary infrastructure as long as the project meets the following requirements: is removed within five years, causes less than one acre of disruption at the location of each tower or device and causes no more than 5 acres of seafloor disruption within the proposed area for the project.
Requires the Department of the Interior to consult with other ocean users including the Secretary of Defense, the Commandant of the Coast Guard and other federal, state, and local agencies that would be affected by the issuance of the permit.
Ensures the protection of the environment by requiring the project site be restored to its original condition with no traceable environmental disturbance.
If the permit is denied, it requires the Secretary to provide a written answer explaining why and offer an opportunity to remedy.
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