Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced the Biden administration is advancing the mid-Atlantic’s first commercial offshore wind development off Virginia’s coast at a press conference today in Hampton Roads. On July 2, 2021, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will publish a notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on plans submitted by Dominion Energy Inc. Oceana celebrated the announcement, saying it will help advance clean, renewable energy while also creating new American jobs, and released the following statement from chief policy officer Jacqueline Savitz:
“Sec. Haaland and the Biden administration should be applauded for their work to transition the United States away from dirty fossil fuels and toward clean, renewable offshore wind energy. Today’s announcement is an important and necessary step toward making offshore wind a reality in the United States. Offshore wind can be a game-changer in the U.S. energy portfolio, replacing fossil fuels that are driving climate change. Our oceans can and should be an import player in helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. As we advance clean offshore energy, Oceana will also work to ensure that its development includes strong protections for ocean habitat and wildlife, including for the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which only about 360 remain. For the U.S. to successfully take full advantage of this unlimited resource that can help solve our climate and energy challenges, Oceana is also calling on President Biden to implement permanent protections from dirty and dangerous offshore drilling.”
A recent Oceana analysis found that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property, and the environment. Additionally, the analysis found that ending new leasing will also safeguard the U.S. clean coast economy, which supports around 3.3 million American jobs and $250 billion in GDP through activities like tourism, recreation, and fishing.