A dispatch from Environment Connecticut:
217 environmentalists, conservationists, clean energy advocates, businesses, and local and state officials from up and down the Atlantic Coast are united in calling for bold action to accelerate the development of offshore wind. In Connecticut, ten offshore wind proponents joined Environment Connecticut, including the Connecticut Marine Trades Association, Senators Doyle and Meyer, Clean Water Action of Connecticut, and several other environmental groups and elected officials. The coalition released a letter to the Obama Administration to show strong support for progress made to date and to urge continued leadership to ensure we see several wind farms spinning off our coasts within the next few years.
“There are vast untapped reserves of wind energy off our coast that we can capture to reduce pollution and grow the clean energy economy,” said Emily Grand with Environment Connecticut. “Our letter shows broad agreement among environmental groups and a diversity of other stakeholders in calling on our state and national leaders to act to steadily ramp-up the development of offshore wind.”
The letter notes the need for federal leadership to move away from fossil fuels that threaten our environment, public health and national security. It applauds the Obama Administration for its efforts over the last year, specifically the actions of Secretary Salazar and the Department of the Interior for its “Smart from the Start” initiative. “Smart from the Start” designates appropriate areas for wind development in federal waters off the coast of six Atlantic states—Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
“Conservationists of all political stripes are united behind offshore wind as a winner for America’s wildlife, public health and economy,” said Catherine Bowes, the senior manager for new energy solutions at the National Wildlife Federation. “Clean energy solutions are critical to protecting our wildlife, fish and natural resources for future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.”
“Ocean conservationists across the country recognize offshore wind development as a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create long-term and good paying American jobs, and become leaders in the global clean energy race,” said Nancy Sopko, Ocean Advocate at Oceana. “It is critical that we invest in clean energy technologies like offshore wind to help combat and mitigate the effects of climate change that are harming our oceans and sea life.”
While much progress has been made along the Atlantic Coast, it is critical to build on the momentum of the last year and continue to prioritize environmentally sound development of our offshore wind energy resources. The coalition calls on the Obama Administration to:
- Support federal financial investments to spur offshore wind development;
- Set a bold goal for offshore wind in the Atlantic;
- Ensure that offshore wind projects are sited, constructed and operated responsibly;
- Provide DOI and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with sufficient staff and resources, and
- Prioritize coordination to secure a market for offshore wind power.
“We stand together and ready to work with the Obama Administration and state officials to advance offshore wind as part of a comprehensive plan to put America on a path to a truly clean energy future,” concluded Grand.