LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

The web's first ocean and offshore wind energy weblog. Continuously renewed, like the ocean itself.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Questions About Appropriate Regulatory Scheme for Offshore Wind Resurface

Glenn Ritt has an article on the questions regarding existing uncertainties as to what regulatory agencies and which statutes govern offshore wind development entitled Is It Time for Congress to Act?(Harwich News, 2/11/03). As the article describes, the Corps is currently permitting the Cape Wind Project under Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act (which directs the Corps to permit any structures located in navigable waters or on the Outer Continental Shelf). However, other offshore projects on the Outer Continental Shelf, such as oil, natural gas and minerals extraction are typically regulated by the Department of Interior through its authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Act. The unresolved issue then, is whether an offshore wind project should be treated more like a "structure" on the Outer Continental Shelf subject to Corps' jurisdiction or like an oil or gas lease which would be subject to regulation by the Department of Interior. Currently, the Corps remains the default agency for offshore wind permitting since its power under Section 10 is broad enough to encompass such projects while the Department of Interior has no authority to regulate renewable development of the Outer Continental Shelf. And that remains the question which Congress must resolve - to leave the permitting of offshore wind (and other renewables) within the Corps' jurisdiction or transfer it to the Department of Interior or some other agency. [Side note - similar uncertainty exists with regard to development of ocean wave energy as discussed in my article, Strategies for Resolving Regulatory Uncertainty in Ocean Energy Development, posted at EnergyPulse.net.]


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