Energy & Environment

New England senators ask Biden admin to study economic impacts of offshore wind plans

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Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) led a group of all senators representing the Gulf of Maine in a letter Wednesday asking the Biden administration to thoroughly research the impact of planned offshore wind power projects on local economies.

King was joined on the bipartisan letter by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

“We recognize the potential for our states to produce significant clean, renewable energy and to harbor a new industry and workforce through responsible development of offshore wind off our shores,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Amanda Lefton.

“However, it is essential that BOEM do additional outreach and research to inform the agency’s planning process prior to conducting lease sales and to improve the ability to assess, predict, monitor, and manage potential environmental impacts of offshore wind in the Gulf of Maine,” they added.

The senators noted “additional data gaps” on the projected economic impacts of the offshore development plans, calling for “regionally specific research” into those effects.

The Biden administration has set a goal of having 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power operating by 2030, with broader plans for leases along the east and west coasts, the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Maine. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in October that the department could hold as many as seven offshore wind lease sales by 2025. The U.S. currently has just two operating offshore wind farms that comprise 42 megawatts of wind capacity.

With the exception of Collins, the only Republican representing New England in the Senate, all signers of the letter have consistently backed the Biden administration on environmental and energy policy. Collins was one of 19 Republicans who joined every Senate Democrat in voting for last year’s bipartisan infrastructure package, which included increased funding for renewable energy transmission lines.

The Hill has reached out to the BOEM for comment.

Tags Angus King bipartisan Deb Haaland Ed Markey Elizabeth Warren Environment Gulf of Maine Jeanne Shaheen Maggie Hassan New England Susan Collins Wind farms

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