LOCE Wind and Wave Energy Weblog

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

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Energy Bill to Resolve Regulatory Gaps on OCS

As we discussed here, the federal district court in Massachusetts may have affirmed the Corps' authority to issue a Section 10 permit for offshore wind projects on the Outer Continental Shelf - but the decision does not clarify whether at some point in time, a developer must obtain firm property rights in order to construct the project under the permit - or to project itself against competing usage. One potential solution has been proposed as part of the pending federal energy bill as reported by John Leaning in
Wind Farm's Regulatory Gap Filled , Cape Cod Times, (9/25/03). The article reports that the proposed legislation would give the Interior Department authority to require leases and arrange fees for renewable energy and other projects on the Outer Continental Shelf.

According to the article, the legislation is controversial for several reasons. Some observers believe that the bill could open the door to oil and gas interests that want other projects in the same area, and give an agency with close ties to the petroleum industry unrestricted authority. Others express concern over ceding permitting authority to the Department of Interior which lacks significant experience in ocean management. Nevertheless, at some point, the issue of rights to build on the OCS needs definitive resolution if more offshore wind projects are to be developed in the future.


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