Washington (December 22, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and Congressman Seth Moulton (MA-06) today announced their work on a discussion draft of bicameral legislation to establish a national framework for offshore wind and fisheries compensation. This legislative proposal would ensure there is a consistent and equitable system in place to assess, award and distribute funding for fishery compensation tied to offshore wind development. The proposal seeks to leverage the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) existing authority to hold multi-factor auctions to incorporate a fishery compensation funding component in offshore wind lease sales. This strategy will integrate BOEM, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and industry and academic stakeholders in delineating eligible compensation expenses, assessing potential compensation needs within individual lease areas, and establishing a process for distributing funding to eligible recipients.

“Green energy like offshore wind is our future, and we need to support the blue economy that makes it possible,” Senator Markey and Congressman Moulton said in a joint statement. “We have been working across the aisle and across chambers to develop a draft policy framework that would create a transparent and equitable compensation strategy for American fisheries, in order to keep afloat our blue economy and all its industries as they continue to develop. A state-by-state, project-by-project strategy for fishery compensation creates confusion for both the wind and the fishery industries—that’s why we need a streamlined federal response. As we finalize this legislation, we’ll continue engaging with Republicans and Democrats, as well as communities and stakeholders whose voices are central to formulating a strong and lasting federal framework.”

Specifically, the proposed fisheries compensation for offshore wind framework would:

  1. Establish a trust fund titled “Fisheries Compensation Fund for Offshore Wind Energy” in the U.S. Treasury Department;
  2. Collect funds from offshore wind lease sales through the use of a multifactor auction format;
  3. Establish fisheries compensation fund advisory committees within regional NOAA fisheries offices, to be composed of experts and stakeholders;
  4. Develop regional criteria for eligible compensation claims, through the consideration of regional variance, peer-reviewed science, fisheries economics and ecological knowledge of the fishing community; and
  5. Develop a process by which fishermen may apply for and receive compensation for regionally eligible expenses.