Last week marked the beginning of a month-long, 10-stop East Coast tour for Oceana’s climate team. Over the next few weeks, our organizing team will be working with local organizations to host panel discussions on the hazards of seismic blasting in the Atlantic Ocean—a dangerous pre-cursor to offshore drilling along the East Coast, which will have devastating impacts on marine wildlife, fisheries and coastal economies. We kicked off our public forum series last Monday at Monmouth University with New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.
Offshore wind development got a huge boost last week when the Department of Energy announced that it would provide $180 million in funding to support four planned offshore wind farms off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
To get the ball rolling, $20 million of this funding is being released in 2012, which is great news for offshore wind development at a time when Congress has been floundering on clean energy.
These funds will be used to support innovative strategies that, in the long-term, will help cut the costs of developing offshore wind. The Department of Energy’s support for offshore wind comes at a time of strong public support for offshore wind in coastal states, such as in New Jersey, where it has a 77% approval rating among shore residents.
The Department of Energy has been helping to streamline the permitting process through a process called “Smart from the Start”, which helps promote responsible development of offshore wind in accordance with environmental factors as well as recreational and commercial use of ocean resources.
Oceana has been highly engaged throughout this process as an environmental stakeholder to make sure offshore wind is developed both efficiently and responsibly in order to gain the clean energy benefits of offshore wind in a way that protects marine wildlife.