WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama administration’s Department of Interior today released the next step in their plan to develop commercial wind energy off of Massachusetts’ shores, which would generate clean energy and quality jobs for Massachusetts. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Malden) praised the Obama administration’s commitment to clean energy, and renewed his push to extend vital tax incentives for wind and other clean energy industries and manufacturers before they expire, putting the wind industry in peril of cutting tens of thousands of jobs.
Rep. Markey has introduced the IMPACT Act (H.R. 5187), which would end subsidies given to the largest oil companies, and instead extend incentives for onshore and offshore wind and other renewable energy production, electric vehicle and clean energy manufacturing, energy efficient appliances and homes, and a new era of natural gas-powered vehicles. The bill would also reduce the deficit by $11 billion over the next decade. A summary fact sheet of the bill is available HERE.
“We must capture the winds that whip off of our shores and realize all of the economic and environmental benefits that come with developing offshore wind energy. I commend the Interior Department on today’s announcement and encourage them to move aggressively to adopt leasing procedures that allow developers to gain control of sites and begin their site assessment work as soon as possible,” said Rep. Markey, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Interior Department’s offshore leasing activities. “Instead of continuing to support the biggest multi-national oil companies, we should be supporting the most entrepreneurial American clean energy companies and create the next generation of clean energy jobs.”
The Interior Department’s announcement today defines a wind energy area that would begin 12 nautical miles south of Martha’s Vineyard and 13 nautical miles southwest of Nantucket and would extend 33 nautical miles southward. The area has been reduced in size by approximately 10 percent since February as a result of public comments that recognized the need to withdraw from development certain high-value fishery and sea duck habitat areas. The area now contains 742,974 acres, an area more than 40 times larger than the proposed Cape Wind footprint.
The Interior Department worked closely with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as well as local tribes, fishing interests, wind developers, and the environmental community to define this wind energy area for expedited offshore wind development. The Interior Department will now evaluate this area through a comprehensive environmental assessment to determine how to best address any conflicts related to endangered North Atlantic right whales, viewshed, and other concerns.