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The Defense Department’s annual spending bill currently includes a requirement for a report on the impact of offshore wind’s on national security, and a description of options to mitigate the impacts. There is similar language in the Interior Department spending bill that urges “thorough consideration and accommodation of all affected interests including national defense, security, environmental, maritime safety, fisheries, and particularly locally affected community concerns.”
Why This Matters: The wind energy industry association is concerned (rightly so) that the creation of this new report would cost staff time, taxpayer money, and create uncertainty for offshore wind development. They also argue that these possible conflicts are already considered in the wind energy siting regulatory process. The wind energy industry is growing tremendously and the most recent offshore lease sale brought in more than $400 million to the U.S. government, and more government revenue is possible in future sales provided that they are not blocked by DoD. These same national security issues have successfully impeded the development of offshore oil and gas drilling. But national security tends to win any time they go to battle with other government interests. This study could throw cold water on offshore wind development.
“With tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, a $70 billion dollar supply chain opportunity, and the security that comes with additional American clean energy on the line, we urge Congress to reject this needless language.” – Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association
Wind developers claim they have successfully mitigated impacts on military radar or training exercises when they occur or otherwise do pursue projects the DOD identifies as being in conflict with military readiness.
A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory. Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.
Why It Matters: The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.
Yesterday, Dominion Energy and its partner, Duke Energy, announced they were ending a 600-mile natural gas project that would have cost at least $8 billion to complete. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, Dominion and Duke canceled the construction of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in the face of mounting regulatory uncertainty caused by a federal court […]
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